FaithWorld

Vatican bank’s TV investment loss showed Cardinal Bertone’s power

(The Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone prays as Pope Benedict XVI meets youths in Bkerke in Harissa, near Beirut September 15, 2012. REUTERS/ Stefano Rellandini )

(The Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone prays as Pope Benedict XVI meets youths in Bkerke in Harissa, near Beirut September 15, 2012. REUTERS/ Stefano Rellandini )

Two years ago, the Vatican bank invested 15 million euros in an Italian television company that makes family movies, including films about popes and a series about a bike-riding country priest who helps police solve crimes.

The Vatican’s then Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone ordered the investment in Lux Vide SpA, which he said shares the Holy See’s “lofty goal of evangelisation”.

Bertone, who was the second-in-command to former Pope Benedict, pushed the deal through despite objections from the bank’s director and board members, who thought the expense was too big and not justified for the bank, according to current and former bank executives.

Last month, the Vatican booked a loss for the entire amount spent, as part of a wider review of Vatican finances that has also led to the closure of hundreds of accounts at the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR by its Italian acronym, as the bank is called.

Pope Francis says about two percent of Catholic priests are pedophiles: paper

(Pope Francis signs an autographs on one of his books given by a faithful, as he arrives to lead a prayer in Isernia, south of Italy, July 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca)

(Pope Francis signs an autographs on one of his books as he arrives to lead a prayer in Isernia, south of Italy, July 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca)

About two percent of Roman Catholic clerics are sexual abusers, an Italian newspaper on Sunday quoted Pope Francis as saying, adding that the pontiff considered the crime “a leprosy in our house”.

But the Vatican issued a statement saying some parts of a long article in the left-leaning La Repubblica were not accurate, including one that quoted the pope as saying that there were cardinals among the abusers.

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down talk of World Cup rivalry

(Pope Francis (L) prays with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI after arriving at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence, south of Rome March 23, 2013. Pope Francis travelled by helicopter from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo for a private meeting with former Pope Benedict XVI. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano )

(Pope Francis (L) prays with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo March 23, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano )

With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry between Argentine Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict, a German.

In response to the intense media speculation about whether they would watch the game together, which it called “amusing”, the Vatican called on soccer fans to observe a “pause for peace” before Sunday’s final to remember victims of war and poverty.

Vatican bank clean-up and account closures wipe out 2013 profit

An exterior view of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican City in 2011. A preliminary inquiry by the Vatican bank after the arrest of a Vatican prelate on suspicion of trying to smuggle huge sums of money into Italy from Switzerland found "clear failings" at the institution, a source close to the bank said on July 4, 2013. The board of the bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), held a meeting on Thursday that also addressed the shock resignation of its two top managers on Monday. The meeting had not been made public. Picture taken in 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

(The Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), or Vatican bank, is located in the round tower at the right in this view of Vatican City in 2011. REUTERS/Stringer)

The Vatican bank has blocked the accounts of more than 2,000 clients and ended some 3,000 “customer relationships” as part of a clean-up process that nearly wiped out its profit, its 2013 financial statement showed on Tuesday.

The bank has been hit by years of scandal, including money laundering allegations and is about to be restructured with a new president and a new board.

Pope Francis says communists are closet Christians who’ve “stolen our flag”

(Pope Francis attends a meeting with Madagascar's President Hery Rajaonarimampianina (not seen) at the Vatican, June 28, 2014. REUTERS/Riccardo De Luca/Pool )

(Pope Francis at the Vatican, June 28, 2014. REUTERS/Riccardo De Luca/Pool )

Pope Francis, whose criticisms of unbridled capitalism have prompted some to label him a Marxist, said in an interview published on Sunday that communists had stolen the flag of Christianity.

The 77-year-old pontiff gave an interview to Il Messaggero, Rome’s local newspaper, to mark the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a Roman holiday.

He was asked about a blog post in the Economist magazine that said he sounded like a Leninist when he criticised capitalism and called for radical economic reform.

Gays and their children should not suffer Church bias, Vatican document says

(Members of a gay activist group hold signs in front of St. Peter's square in the Vatican December 16, 2012. A group of demonstrators protesting against the Roman Catholic Church's stance on homosexual marriage tried to enter St Peter's Square in the Vatican on Sunday as Pope Benedict was giving his weekly address to pilgrims. The protesters - who were kept out of the square by police - were upset over a speech by the pontiff on Friday in which he appeared to include efforts to legalise gay marriage among the threats to peace in the world. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

(Members of a gay activist group hold signs in front of St. Peter’s square in the Vatican December 16, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

The Roman Catholic Church must be less judgmental of homosexuals and, while still opposing gay marriage, should welcome children of gay couples into the faith with equal dignity, a Vatican document said on Thursday.

A 75-page document, a working paper for the synod of Catholic bishops planned for the Vatican in October to discuss family issues, also said the 1.2 billion member Church should become less exclusive and more humble.

Vatican cricketers to meet British royal household, Church of England teams

(A player from a team of priests and seminarians returns a ball during a training session at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae's Catholic College in Rome October 22, 2013. The Vatican officially declared its intention to defeat the Church of England on Tuesday - not in a theological re-match nearly 500 years after they split, but on the cricket pitch. The challenge was launched at the baptism of the St. Peter's Cricket Club. Vatican officials said the league will be composed of teams of priests and seminarians from Catholic colleges and seminaries in Rome. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

(A player from a team of priests and seminarians returns a ball during a training session at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae’s Catholic College in Rome October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

Cricket teams representing Queen Elizabeth and Pope Francis will face each other at Windsor Castle, the Vatican said on Monday, stamping its unprecedented venture into a sport rooted in Anglicanism with the royal seal of approval.

The September 17 fixture will pit the Vatican XI against a side of Britain’s royal household made up of soldiers, guards and staff. Two days later the Holy See’s representatives will play a Church of England team in Canterbury.

Vatican acts to protect Michelangelo frescoes as Sistine Chapel visitors swell

(Pope Benedict XVI leads a special meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican November 21, 2009. Pope Benedict meets up to 500 artists from around the world, as part of efforts to turn the page on the Vatican's sometimes conflicted relationship with the contemporary art world. Picture taken with fish-eye lens. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

(Pope Benedict XVI leads a special meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican November 21, 2009. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

Dust, sweat and carbon dioxide brought into the Sistine Chapel by a swelling number of tourists risk damaging priceless Michelangelo frescoes, the Vatican said on Wednesday, hoping a new air conditioning and lighting system will protect them.

Some six million people a year visit the chapel, home to Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescoes – one of the wonders of Western civilization that are over 500 years old.

Pope Francis fires entire board of Vatican financial watchdog

(New recruits of the Vatican's elite Swiss Guard march in front of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) during the swearing-in ceremony at the Vatican May 6, 2014. The Swiss Guard, founded in 1506, consist of 100 volunteers who must be of Swiss nationality, Catholic, single, at least 174 cm (5.7 ft) tall and without a beard. New recruits are sworn in every year on May 6 to commemorate the day where 147 Swiss soldiers died defending the Pope during an attack on Rome in 1527. REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

(New recruits of the Vatican’s elite Swiss Guard march in front of the tower of the Vatican’s bank, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) on May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

Pope Francis sacked the five-man board of the Vatican’s financial watchdog on Thursday – all Italians – in the latest move to break with an old guard associated with a murky past under his predecessor.

The Vatican said the pope named four experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace them on the board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the Holy See’s internal regulatory office. The new board includes a woman for the first time.

Papal commission on sex abuse wants accountability for priests, bishops

(Pope Francis talks with children during a special audience with members of the "Catholic Action" in Paul VI hall at the Vatican May 3, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

(Pope Francis talks with children during a special audience with members of the “Catholic Action” in Paul VI hall at the Vatican May 3, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

A commission advising Pope Francis on the sexual abuse crisis will recommend that negligent clerics be held accountable regardless of their rank in the Church, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said on Saturday.

In many cases of abuse, most of which took place decades ago but surfaced in the past 15 years, bishops seeking to protect the Church’s reputation moved priests from parish to parish instead of defrocking them or handing them over to police.