HOLY MONEY GRAB: Pope Francis imposes deadline for Holy See entities to deposit their assets with the Vatican Bank
Pope Francis imposed an October 1 deadline for all Holy See entities and Vatican-linked institutions to deposit their assets to the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) – also known as the Vatican Bank.
The IOR, which is based in Vatican City State, has 110 employees and 14,519 clients. As of last year, it is looking after 5.2 billion euros ($5.21 billion) of client assets.
Despite being known as a bank, the IOR is a financial institute with no branches, working within the Vatican to provide services to clients including the Holy See
and connected entities, religious orders, clergy, Catholic institutions and Holy See employees.
The IOR saw its number of clients decline in 2021, and nearly half of its clients in 2019 were religious orders.
In its annual report, the IOR's $19 million net profit in 2021 was down from $44 million in 2020 and $46 million in 2019.
In his August 23 rescript, the Pope said article 219, paragraph 3 of the Praedicate Evangelium
"must be interpreted to mean that the activity of asset manager and custodian of the movable patrimony of the Holy See and of the Institutions connected with the Holy See is the exclusive responsibility of the Institute for Works of Religion."
This will force Holy See institutions, including the Secretariat of State, to move their financial assets to the IOR
by the end of September.
Ending decades of mismanagement
This decree follows the Pope's earlier decision to entrust the management of all Vatican assets to one office, known as the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See or APSA, in a move to end decades of mismanagement that culminated with the Secretary of State's 350 million-euro ($351 million) investment scandal
in a London property, which was originally carried out through Credit Suisse.
Ten people, including Vatican officials and external brokers, are on trial in the Vatican tribunal due to finance-related charges in connection with the deal.
The need for the new decree to impose a fixed deadline and stress the no-exceptions to the regulation suggests that some offices or institutions were hoping to keep their external accounts or investments. (Related: Mind control, the shell game, and the stealth gods
The Vatican Bank has had a long history of scandal
but has spent the past decade cleaning up its books and getting rid of its reputation as an offshore tax haven. The years of reform, however, have lessened its number of clients.
In July, the Pope published a policy stating that the Holy See's financial investments cannot contradict Catholic teachings
It specifically stipulates that Vatican investments should be "aligned with the teachings of the Catholic Church, with specific exclusions for financial investments that contradict its fundamental principles, such as the sanctity of life or the dignity of the human being or the common good."
It also said that the investments of the Holy See and related entities should aim to contribute to a more just and sustainable world, as well as to generate a sufficient return in a sustainable way.
Beginning September 1, investments will be made through APSA and overseen by an ethics committee of four financial professionals headed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell.
According to the policy, the Vatican and related entities may not invest in products and technologies related to "pornography and prostitution; gambling; weapons and defense industry; pro-abortion health centers; and laboratories or pharmaceutical companies that manufacture contraceptive products and/or work with embryonic stem cells." (Related: SATAN'S PUPPET: Pope Francis calls getting the abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccine "an act of love."
However, there are industries that the policy says should be avoided for investment but are not prohibited, including oil and mining, nuclear energy and alcoholic beverages.
In April 2021, an Italian investigative news program accused the Vatican's treasury of investing 20 million euros (then around $24 million) in several pharmaceutical companies that are involved in making the "morning after pill."
This could be linked to the policy indicating that investments should be evaluated to ensure they comply with the principles of the Catholic Church's social doctrine on human dignity and the common good.
"The decision to invest in one place rather than another… is always a moral and cultural choice," the policy said.
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