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Vatican bank error threatened accounts of widows, pensioners

Catholic World News - January 31, 2014

One of the steps toward financial reform at the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), backfired when the bank accidentally threatened to close the accounts of retired lay Vatican employees and their surviving spouses.

In December, the IOR announced that it would close the accounts of lay people who had no direct connection to the Vatican. The IOR planned to hold accounts only for Catholic institutions and religious orders, clerics, diplomats accredited to the Holy See, and employees or former employees of the Vatican.

However, due to a clerical error, some retired Vatican employers were classified as ineligible to have IOR accounts. As a result, they received a terse letter from the bank, instructing them to close their accounts promptly or risk losing their funds. “In some cases old ladies got nasty letters,” an IOR spokesman told the Associated Press. The IOR has apologized for the error, and assured the retired workers and their spouses that their accounts are safe.

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