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Rome & the World: Did Vatican money get moved in time?

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 10/12/22

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Wednesday 12 October 2022
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1. Vatican silent on Credit Suisse accounts
2.  Report condemns Bahrain’s justice system’s use of the death penalty 
3. Pope compares athletes to saints
4. The contribution of African intellectuals to Vatican II
5. What to expect from the German bishops’ visit to Rome
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1Vatican silent on Credit Suisse accounts

The Holy See Press Office has declined to comment on whether the Secretariat of State and other structures of the Curia have met the deadline set by the Pope to transfer all funds and accounts from foreign banks to Vatican City, according to an article in The Pillar. The sensitive issue is back in the spotlight as Credit Suisse, a powerful bank with a long history with the Vatican and multiple links to the financial scandal concerning a building in London, faces a serious crisis marked by mounting losses and a collapse in its share price. The bank’s problems have raised questions about whether church funds are still held there, including in accounts that have been frozen as part of the Vatican’s investigation into the financial affairs of the Secretariat of State. Last August, Pope Francis issued a rescript ordering all Vatican bodies to transfer their funds deposited in foreign banks to the IOR, Vatican City’s commercial bank, setting a deadline at the end of September for all accounts to be moved. The expiration of the curial deadline coincided with increased scrutiny and market pressure on Credit Suisse. A restructuring plan is expected to be announced in a few days, and a nationalization of the bank by the financial authorities of the Swiss Confederation has not been ruled out, as the bank’s failure would have serious systemic consequences on the financial markets. Credit Suisse, the country’s second largest bank, has long been a favored institution of the Holy See, in particular the Vatican Secretariat of State, which is said to have kept hundreds of millions of euros of church funds in the bank, and to have used the bank’s credit to finance risky international investments, including in the deal concerning the infamous 60 Sloane Avenue building in London. These dubious transactions are currently the subject of a trial in the Vatican, with Cardinal Becciu, former substitute of the Secretariat of State, among the accused. 

The Pillar, English 

2Report condemns Bahrain’s justice system’s use of the death penalty

According to a 61-page report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, in recent years Bahraini courts have conducted “sham trials,” with convictions obtained through coercion, torture, and human rights violations. Defendants are denied access to evidence, a lawyer, and the opportunity to cross-examine “secret sources” used against them, reports Asia News. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the Gulf country from November 3-6. In a recent case, eight men were apparently sentenced to death on the basis of confessions obtained through physical and psychological violence. Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, HRW consultant and lead author of the report, urges the authorities in Bahrain, where the majority Shiite population is ruled by a Sunni dynasty, to “commute all death sentences immediately and … reinstate the de facto moratorium on executions.” The past year death sentences increased “dramatically” in the country, around 600%, as 51 people were sentenced, compared to seven in the previous decade. A report that muddies the waters, three weeks before the conference on interreligious dialogue, which Pope Francis will attend along with other religious leaders. 

Asia News, English 

3. Pope compares athletes to saints

In a preface to a book, Pope Francis considers that, in fatigue, an athlete is like a saint, as he sees beyond what others normally see. 

Vatican News, Italian 

4. The contribution of African intellectuals to Vatican II

La Croix Africa looks back at the “African Society of Culture” which played an important role in the preparation of the Second Vatican Council, as the Church is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its opening. This movement of African intellectuals continues to this day. 

La Croix Africa, French 

5. What to expect from the German bishops’ visit to Rome

This November, the German bishops will come to Rome for an ad limina visit. This is an important meeting, as the Church in Germany continues its synod. However, the editor-in-chief of Die Tagespost is of the opinion that no quick clarification can be expected from Rome on pressing church issues.

Die Tagespost, German 

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