My interview at Beppe Grillo’s blog
“Greetings to the friends of Beppe Grillo’s blog and let’s keep this in mind: it’s always better to have a book than handcuffs.
We need to remember that there are two views of the Church, that of Pope Francis, and that of someone who says that you can’t run the Church on Hail Marys and that someone was Monsignor Paul Marcinkus who created disasters in the Vatican Bank even bringing in money from the Cosa Nostra mafia.
The Pope wants to change the Church, but more than anything, he wants to change the Vatican Curia.
My books talks about all of this. It talks about bad deeds and thus it has created a lot of upset.
I’m talking about the money collected for “Peter’s Pence” that is then destined to be given to those in need in accordance with the indications given by the Holy Father. Peter’s Pence is collected in churches all over the world, and it totals about 60 million Euro. Well, in the last few years, sixty per cent ended up covering the debts of the Curia, those gentlemen that are living in apartments measuring 500 square metres, Cardinals, just twenty per cent ended up not for worthy causes, but in a deposit account with the Vatican Bank or with the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA). Just think, that’s almost 400 million euro that’s sitting there and only 20 per cent ends up in the Pope’s account to do good works. I believe that this is in fundamental contradiction to what Pope Francis wants and is promising.
Who’s in control of APSA and the Vatican Bank?
In the Vatican Bank there are many hidden people with murky and unseeable interests. They have told us that they had closed all the accounts of lay people, that they had cleaned things up. Just about a month ago, I received a detailed report and I discovered that there are still accounts of lay people who have nothing to do with the Vatican! This is the bank that’s meant to do good works, to do missionary work, and yet there are lay people with accounts worth millions of Euro and these accounts should not exist. It’s a lie to say there are no longer accounts held by lay people.
APSA is the same. We have to acknowledge that Francis has done more to clean it up. However it still has the same , man in charge: a Cardinal who was selected by the former Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, with whom I’d not be willing to have a coffee. I’d not even have a drink of water with him!
Bank accounts of dead Popes
Then there’s another mystery. There are bank accounts in the name of Popes who died many, many years ago. When I discovered these I asked around among my information sources in the Vatican, but it’s still a mystery. It’s not known who manages them. The amounts are not enormous but we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of Euro. Why are they not closed down? As Giampaolo Pansa has written “in Italy and also in the Vatican, the sewage system gets everywhere”, you just have to lift up the right manhole cover and take the right drain and you can find yourself in another part completely.
This has nothing to do with faith. It has nothing to do with the Church and the fact that it is the heritage belonging to each of us personally. You may or may not have faith. The Church of the volunteers, of the Sunday schools, of the regular schools, all that is the heritage of our country through history, it’s our everyday story.
Here I’m talking of the power centres that distribute privileges, that look after jobs. There are 14 HR departments in the Vatican and that is ridiculous compared to the number of employees. But each HR office has its own web of employees. On 3 July 2013, the Pope said that there’d been an increase of 30% in expenditure on employees in the previous few years and it wasn’t known why that was. It’s easy to understand: each employee that you recruit is a “trusted man” that you can depend on. And this is the web, the system of power that the Pope wants to pull down. In the 1990s all the reforms of the Curia failed. There were 5 or 6 attempts. In my opinion, this is the time for it to happen. Anyway, if it doesn’t happen now, it won’t happen.
The Committee of Enquiry into Vatican affairs
Then thre’s something else that’s surprising. In March 2014, there was a Committee of Enquiry into Vatican accounts and finances. It was trying to get to the bottom of things. One night some thieves (- or at least some people presumed to be thieves, or people dressed up as thieves), used a blow torch to break into safes and heavily protected cabinets belonging to this Committee of Enquiry.
It’s as though, here in Italy, someone got into the office of the Prosecutor, and opened the safes to take away the documents of the current investigations. Why did this happen? It seems to me that they did this to find out what had been discovered by this Committee of Enquiry set up by the Pope.
Then a really worrying and extraordinary thing happened. A few weeks later, before the beatification of John Paul II and of John XXIII, a number of these documents turn up in a plain envelope in the same office where they were stolen. On examining these documents it was discovered that these are letters written by Michele Sindona, (so we’re talking about many years ago, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s) in which he encouraged his Italo-American mafia friends to do business with Caldi and with Marcinkus’s Vatican Bank. These are letters that this gentleman, this banker, sent to the top people in the Church hierarchy at that time. In my opinion, this is a message of intimidation.
Ratzinger and Bergoglio: similarities and differences
There’s a fundamental difference. Bertone was Ratzinger’s right hand man. Ratzinger was the sovereign of the Vatican’s monarchy. He delegated the administration of the State, matters of business, of money, of finances. He was thus a sovereign who did not govern.
Pope Francis was not like that. He said: “I want to govern as well. I want to do politics. I want to look at the accounts. These unauthorised accounts must not pay out to companies of friends, of chums, of lovers. How come this library has increased in cost from 100 to 200? Who has stolen that money? Be careful about the investments. – These are all things that you can find in the book. – We have invested 95 million euro in UBS and Goldman Sachs.“ In my view, I’d say that if the Curia is investing in UBS and Goldman Sachs, it seems more like a finance company than a theocracy.
So he’s saying: “Be careful about the investments.“ So, you see, he’s even looking at the invoices from the shops, the invoices relating to tenders. That is he wants to do the managing because in order for it to be credible, the Church has to be poor.
The Pope’s struggle: reforms are in danger
I believe that this is a possibility. His reforms are in danger. This is certainly the same thing, because the leadership of a Pope is represented by what he does. There are those that want to oppose him. This is actually happening. People are saying he is ill, that he has a brain tumour and thus that he is not believable. Strange thefts happening in the Vatican.
It’s all a big swamp but perhaps it’s smaller than we imagine, but it is insidious. These are incrustations. This Pope wants to change the mindset, the laws and the men. The problem is that it takes time. The problem is that many mindsets don’t want to be changed.
The right to report news and information
To say that I’m a fan of Pope Francis is not correct. I have written this book and it is not for or against anyone. It tells the facts. In my view, these facts are what make it possible to understand what is happening. If you then ask me on a personal level, as a Christian man, what I think of the Pope, I’d say that he’s a great Pope who is driving forward change. Like his predecessor, now watch out, perhaps not everyone is in agreement with this, like his predecessor, he is revolutionising the Church. There’s nothing more revolutionary than what was done by Ratzinger, that is a step backwards, a Pope who didn’t feel able to hold the tiller of St Peter’s boat, who took a step backwards, until the arrival of a Pope who for the first time, took the name of Francis. These are personal reflections. The book is something else: the book is the work of a journalist who wanted to tell the story of facts that were not known. However, at times, there are those who prefer to arrest people who are providing information, or who are believed to have given information. Perhaps there are more than a few paedophile priests. If we do some calculations in the Vatican, in the last 3 years they’ve arrested one paedophile priest and three people who gave information to the press. I’m not very happy about this.
Spread the word.”