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Corruption scandal shakes Vatican as internal letters leaked

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/26/us-vatican-corruption-idUSTRE80P1EF20120126

Corruption scandal shakes Vatican as internal letters leaked

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY | Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:20pm EST

(Reuters) - The Vatican was shaken by a corruption scandal Thursday after an Italian television investigation said a former top official had been transferred against his will after complaining about irregularities in awarding contracts.

The show "The Untouchables" on the respected private television network La 7 Wednesday night showed what it said were several letters that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who was then deputy-governor of Vatican City, sent to superiors, including Pope Benedict, in 2011 about the corruption.

The Vatican issued a statement Thursday criticizing the "methods" used in the journalistic investigation. But it confirmed that the letters were authentic by expressing "sadness over the publication of reserved documents."

As deputy governor of the Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the number two official in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny city-state's gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure.

Vigano, currently the Vatican's ambassador in Washington, said in the letters that when he took the job in 2009 he discovered a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices.

In one letter, Vigano tells the pope of a smear campaign against him (Vigano) by other Vatican officials who wanted him transferred because they were upset that he had taken drastic steps to save the Vatican money by cleaning up its procedures.

"Holy Father, my transfer right now would provoke much disorientation and discouragement in those who have believed it was possible to clean up so many situations of corruption and abuse of power that have been rooted in the management of so many departments," Vigano wrote to the pope on March 27, 2011.

In another letter to the pope on April 4, 2011, Vigano says he discovered the management of some Vatican City investments was entrusted to two funds managed by a committee of Italian bankers "who looked after their own interests more than ours."

LOSS OF $2.5 MILLION, 550,000 EURO NATIVITY SCENE

Vigano says in the same letter that in one single financial transaction in December, 2009, "they made us lose two and a half million dollars."

The program interviewed a man it identified as a member of the bankers' committee who said Vigano had developed a reputation as a "ballbreaker" among companies that had contracts with the Vatican, because of his insistence on transparency and competition.

The man's face was blurred on the transmission and his voice was distorted in order to conceal his identity.

In one of the letters to the pope, Vigano said Vatican-employed maintenance workers were demoralized because "work was always given to the same companies at costs at least double compared to those charged outside the Vatican."

For example, when Vigano discovered that the cost of the Vatican's larger than life nativity scene in St Peter's Square was 550,000 euros in 2009, he chopped 200,000 euros off the cost for the next Christmas, the program said.

Even though, Vigano's cost-cutting and transparency campaign helped turned Vatican City's budget from deficit to surplus during his tenure, in 2011 unsigned articles criticizing him as inefficient appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.

On March 22, 2011, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone informed Vigano that he was being removed from his position, even though it was to have lasted until 2014.

Five days later he wrote to Bertone complaining that he was left "dumbfounded" by the ouster and because Bertone's motives for his removal were identical to those published in an anonymous article published against him in Il Giornale that month.

In early April, Vigano went over Bertone's head again and wrote directly to the pope, telling him that he had worked hard to "eliminate corruption, private interests and dysfunction that are widespread in various departments."

He also tells the pope in the same letter that "no-one should be surprised about the press campaign against me" because he tried to root out corruption and had made enemies.

Despite his appeals to the pope that a transfer, even if it meant a promotion, "would be a defeat difficult for me to accept," Vigano was named ambassador to Washington in October of last year after the sudden death of the previous envoy to the United States.

In its statement, the Vatican said the journalistic investigation had treated complicated subjects in a "partial and banal way" and could take steps to defend the "honor of morally upright people" who loyally serve the Church.

The statement said that today's administration was a continuation of the "correct and transparent management that inspired Monsignor Vigano."

(Reporting By Philip Pullella)

the corruption of the pagan church

Comments

  • android13android13 Member PExer
    their corruption is not just about money. the crimes is corrupting the pagan church
  • android13android13 Member PExer
    www.unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/GinoDetails.htm
    Gino Case
    Reveals
    Vatican
    Corruption
    By Richard Salbato
    History
    Fr. Burresi, who is
    now 73 years old, was
    until 1992 a member
    of the Oblates of the
    Virgin Mary, an order
    founded in 1816 by
    Italian priest Bruno
    Lanteri. A man with a
    great devotion to the
    revelations of Fatima,
    Burresi became a
    priest at a relatively
    advanced age, in
    1983, but even before
    this he had gained
    great fame as a
    mystic and spiritual
    director, as well as
    for the stigmata and
    visions.
    In a small way, his
    popularity resembled
    that of Fr. Pio of
    Pietrelcina. And not
    really in too small a
    way: hundreds of
    persons from Italy
    and beyond came to
    him every day
    seeking comfort,
    including high-
    ranking prelates,
    politicians, and
    ambassadors. From
    the faraway
    Philippines, then-
    president Corazon
    Aquino sent one of his
    messengers to have a
    rosary blessed by this
    man in the odor of
    sanctity.
    His headquarters
    were in the
    countryside below
    Tivoli, just outside of
    Rome, in the area of
    San Vittorino, where
    there stands today a
    Marian shrine in the
    form of a cone made
    of glass and cement.
    It was built with the
    contributions from
    devotees. "Brother
    Gino," as everyone
    called him, initially
    received his visitors
    in a small structure
    made of wood and
    sheetmetal, but the
    congregation of the
    Oblates replaced this
    with an international
    seminary. Because Fr.
    Burresi was also a
    great magnet for
    vocations to the
    religious life.
  • android13android13 Member PExer
    January 26, 2012 04:08 PM EDT
    By Stoyan Zaimov | Christian Post
    Reporter
    (Photo: Reuters / Osservatore
    Romano)
    A recent Italian news report
    presented evidence of a Vatican
    official being "demoted" after
    exposing corruption in a letter
    written to Pope Benedict XVI.
    Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano
    allegedly pleaded not to be
    removed from his high-ranking
    position inside the Vatican.
    Vigano previously served as the No.
    2 administrator of the Vatican, but
    is now the pope's ambassador to
    Washington D. C., the Associated
    Press reported.
    It was a move he fought against.
    "Blessed Father, my transfer in this
    moment would provoke confusion
    and discouragement for those who
    thought it was possible to clean up
    so many situations of corruption
    and abuse of office," he wrote in a
    letter to the pope.
    The controversy stems from
    allegations made by Vigano in
    letters to the pope that a small
    group of businesses held most of
    the Vatican contracts and charged
    twice the going rate for services.

    He also accused a group of Italian
    bankers (hired by the Vatican to
    shore up its finances) of
    mismanaging two investment funds
    and working more towards their
    own interests.
    Some allege Vigano was "stepping
    on too many toes" by speaking to
    the pope directly about the
    corruption.
    The Vatican flatly denies the
    allegations that the Archbishop was
    punished.
    "It must be decisively affirmed that
    entrusting Archbishop Vigano with
    the role of apostolic nuncio to the
    United States - one of the most
    important roles in Vatican
    diplomacy given the importance of
    the country and of the Catholic
    Church there - is proof of
    unquestionable respect and trust,"
    Vatican Spokesman and Press Office
    Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J
    said in a statement to Vatican Radio.
    The National Catholic
    Reporter shared that Vigano's
    actions may have produced
    backlash among administrators of
    individual departments, such as the
    Vatican museums and Vatican
    gardens, who had been
    accustomed to operating in semi-
    autonomous fashion. The Italian
    investigation also named a handful
    of senior officials and financial
    advisors in the Vatican allegedly
    involved in mismanagement and
    lack of adequate financial controls.
    The same report suggests that the
    Vatican may take legal action
    against the station for what it calls
    "biased and banal" accusations.

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