In canon lawyer Ed Condon’s recent article critical of the Pope’s actions against the Knights of Malta, he makes an astute observation about possible unintended consequences:
The disregard for the mutually sovereign relationship between the Holy See and the Order sets a precedent in international law, which will now lurk under the Secretariat of State’s dealings with other governments like an unexploded bomb.
Cardinal Parolin should prepare to see today’s actions cited as legitimate precedent when the IOR, commonly called the Vatican Bank, finds its sovereign independence under renewed pressure from other countries or international bodies. [emphasis mine]
With respect to the bank, one has to ask just how long the Italian government’s going to tolerate this institution? While the current pontiff had promised to clean up Vatican finances, he recently ordered Archbishop Becciu to abruptly cancel an outside audit of the bank by PricewaterhouseCooper. According to journalist Edward Pentin, it was over the issue of transparency:
“There’s been resistance all the way, but this is a blow to the entire reform process. …There was a shock to the system in terms of how rigorous the audit would be; the international standards feel a bit intrusive”
How do you suppose the average Italian banker feels about it? He is required to maintain international standards that include transparency with respect to account ownership and source of funds, anti-money laundering protections, and is subject to government regulation and periodic audits. Yet over at the sovereign Vatican those standards don’t apply. What about the average Italian? No wonder only 15% of Italian Catholics attend mass on a weekly basis; could it be that they’re tired of reading about corruption and hypocrisy in the Vatican? Umberto Bossi, former head of the Northern League, one of Italy’s largest political parties, was asked for his opinion of the Catholic Church, he said that if it was up to him he’d flush it down the toilet. It doesn’t appear important to Church authorities that the Vatican bank and bankers also represent the Body of Christ.
Vatican City is only a quasi-sovereign state and the thing with the Knights might give the Italian government the precedent it needed to intervene. If the Vatican lost some or all of its sovereignty, then the pope could lose his Head-of-State immunity which would make him susceptible to international lawsuits. Lawyers for victims of sexual abuse by priests believe the Vatican should, and can, be held accountable. While dioceses around the U.S. have to file for bankruptcy because of the abuse, the Vatican claims it is a separate legal entity and so has no responsibility even though for decades it authorized the relocating of priests who had been accused.
St. Hildegard said that in the last days the Church would be punished for three specific sins: fornication, rapine, and murder. They are all present here. The worst sexual scandal in the Church’s history is still somewhat unresolved. Rapine is theft, and money-laundering and tax-evasion in the Vatican bank, I believe, qualify as such. Contraception, according to Hildegard, as well as canon law, bears the same guilt as murder. How is God supposed to react when His revealed will is increasingly disrespected and ignored.
The Fatima centenary will be celebrated, I suppose, with great solemnity and ceremony; but was her message taken seriously? It was a warning, and demanded actions to prevent divine punishment. The Blessed Virgin delivered another message to us through a nun in Japan, and, like the second secret of Fatima, the third message of Akita included a clue as to when to expect a punishment (I’m referring to the aurorae borealis in 1938 as the sign that a war would commence). Our Lady told Sister Sasagawa:
“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops.”
Until a few years ago there would have been no notable evidence of this. Today, one reads about it everyday, and even the secular press follows the bitter opposition between certain prelates.
“For whom the Lord loves, He chastens” (Hebrews 12:6).