Vatican Inc.

Vatican Inc.

2013, Crime  -   118 Comments
Ratings: 8.70/10 from 80 users.

Pope Benedict's resignation shocked the Catholic Church and left the Vatican in disarray. His successor will face many challenges, from recurrent sexual scandals to concerns about financial impropriety at the Vatican's own bank, the IOR or Institute of Religious Works.

In 2011, Al Jazeera investigated allegations that the IOR had been involved in money laundering and examined Pope Benedict's plans for cleaning up the secretive system. With many of those reforms having fallen short and the Vatican's finances still under a cloud, the next Pope might benefit from watching this report once again.

Every Sunday worshipers crowd the Saint Peter's colonnades in square and from its balcony the Pope imparts a sacrament and the latest behavioral guidelines. Over one billion Catholics look to the pontiff for guidance and donate their money to the Catholic Church. A large portion of this money makes its way to the Vatican and into the vaults of the IOR, the Institute for Religious Works, the Vatican's Bank.

The IOR is the vehicle through which thousands of charitable and religious initiatives around the globe are financed. In the recent past, Italian state prosecutors placed the bank under investigation for suspected money laundering. Twenty three million Euros in Vatican funds were seized representing only a fraction of suspect transactions now being scrutinized. IOR president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was also placed under investigation and a huge financial scandal now threatens to envelop the church. For many Catholics, it has the disturbing echoes of another scandal of 30 years ago, the infamous "Banco Ambrosiano affair" and some now fear that history may be repeating itself.

President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was questioned in order to clarify the situation, but after the questioning the prosecution thought that they had not received satisfactory answers. It is surprising that even the president of the IOR could not find a way to clarify the circumstances.

The Institute for Religious Works is located behind the walls of the Vatican City state and inside the massive tower build by Niccolo V. The bank was founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII with the purpose of safe keeping the Vatican's vast assets in capital and real estate. The IOR doesn't allow everyone to open accounts. There are specific regulations allowing only religious organizations or members of clergy to do so.

The IOR is administered by industry professionals under the supervision of the Council of Cardinals, but because the IOR has only one central branch inside the Vatican, it has to use other banks outside the city state to move its funds around. However, the names of its accounts holders are kept secret and transactions bare no other identification than that of the IOR. This means the origins of any deposit coming into an IOR account are wiped from the record before the funds are moved out to the international banking system and that, say critics, makes money laundering all too easy.

Generally, the profits that the IOR makes during a year's worth of financial operations and from the deposits made, are given to the Pope for charitable works that are carried out worldwide. The amount corresponds roughly to 70 or 80 million Euros every year.

Inevitably, this huge flow of cash, much of it untraceable, has attracted the attention of investigators. The latest probe began in the hills around Rome in late 2008 when Father Evaldo Biasini, treasurer of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the precious blood, answered his mobile phone.

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7 years ago

just at the beginning of the documentary, when they say IOR, I thought it stand for I Owe Religion, like in IOU's (I Owe yoU's in markets).....though i should share this invaluable epiphany with should all be me.

8 years ago

isn't that a muslim sign at the bottom left of this video?

Bruce Black
8 years ago

I wish people would post some constructive critisism instead of puking up nonsense.

Yes it is a scandal and i dont like the Vatican in any way.
But please dont throw this on the same pile as the belief or a religion.
It has NOTHING to do with that or people's evil intentions.
People are commenting really stupid crap that only shows they are really uneducated and misunderstand everything because of it.

Finally, the word of God has nothing to do with a bunch of criminally insane pope lovers

9 years ago

Typical of this filthy superstitious pedophelic placebo

10 years ago

God's Banker by David Yallop. A must read. The fraud(s) never stopped, they continue.

Bill Farley
10 years ago

If this new Pope wants to clean up corruption in the Vatican I strongly recommend he hire a food taster and resist taking bedtime snacks of tea and cookies.

elizabeth wesley
10 years ago

He has protection in the Vatican; if he leaves he can be detained as he was found guilty in the recent case of his part in the murder, rape, and sodomy against the native childen in Canada. The case was tried in Europe and charges were brought against the Vatican, pope, united and anglican churches qween of eng, PM of canada, as well as other sick individuals and organizations. Story found at "" or "hidden no longer" if you are interested.

10 years ago

Just spent 23 M Euro on a Building that has Europe largest gay bath house that helps the poor.

10 years ago

definition of INSANITY. Repeatedly making the very same mistake over and over again,each time expecting a diffrent result.Anyone you know?

10 years ago

Sad truth.Like government,hollywood and celebrity,religion too never seems to make it passed sex and money.If your ONLY human,thats your sick and weak problem,DOG.Perhaps its your physical appearence-Phalms 111.32

10 years ago

Hmm...I noticed this was aired on Al Jazeera. I'm curious as to whether they would give their own religion the same scrutiny?....I'm not standing up for Catholicism by the way. I hate all religion equally.

10 years ago

Of course the Vatican is corrupted, same as any government.
Religious people stand behind the Vatican the same way US citizens stand behind their corrupt government while claiming other countries are corrupted.

10 years ago

Those who hunt witches do so because they see their own evil as virtue.

10 years ago

And Catholics wonder why they are hated!

10 years ago

Why are we not surprised about the corruption etc.?