Vatican bank begins PR campaign to restore confidence
June 14, 2013
The new president of the Vatican bank, Ernst von Freyberg, has launched a public-relations campaign to restore the image of the institution after years of criticism.
Von Freyberg has scheduled a series of interviews with new agencies and influential newspapers, explaining the role of the bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). He argues that the problems facing the IOR are largely questions of public perception.
The IOR president reveals that he has not spoken with Pope Francis about the operations of the bank. But he says that the IOR has closed down thousands of accounts, which are now being audited, to ensure transparency. And he admitted that if the IOR continues to be criticized as a potential tax haven, he may institute new tax-reporting requirements as well.
In a related development, the Associated Press has revealed that the Vatican’s ability to process credit-card transactions has not yet been fully restored. On January 1, Italian bankers announced that they would no longer process credit-card transactions for the Vatican, citing concerns about financial transparency. In February the Vatican announced that a Swiss firm would handle bank-card transactions. But while tourists entering the Vatican Museums can now use credit or debit cards for entry fees, other Vatican offices—such as those selling stamps, coins, and books—have not been able to resume normal credit-card services to online customers.
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