The Bank of God

2013, Religion  -  53 min Leave a Comment
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In July, 2013, during the Pope's visit to Brazil a letter was delivered to his secretary. However this was not a standard letter. It has been sent from the prison Regina Coeli in Rome and addressed to the Holy Father himself. On July 25th, the Pope's delegation in San Paolo was awakened at dawn. A problem came up at the Holy See.

The letter was not just a plain letter, it was not sent by any of the many prisoners who write every day to the Pope to ask for comfort. The sender was Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a high priest who leads the special section of the accounting at APSA - the authority which manages the whole patrimony of the Holy See. He is a very influential figure, not just an average priest.

Scarano is also very well known at the IOR - the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank. At the time when he wrote the letter to the Pope, Monsignor Scarano had been in jail for a month with the charges of bribery, slander and money laundering. According to the Italian Finance Police inspectors, Scarano tried to bring a bag containing 26 million dollars into Italy from Switzerland and according to the prosecutors that money would have been used to do a favor to a Neapolitan family of ship-owners.

Monsignor Scarano had two accomplices during this operation: A broker operating mainly abroad and a non-commissioned officer of the Italian Carabinieri working for the intelligence and security services. The operation also involved a private jet and an armed guard. Monsignor Scarano is the first high priest in history to be imprisoned for financial crimes that never occurred before.

The Vatican state is surrounded by walls and covers 44 hectares of land in the heart of Rome. It has a population of 839 people whose per capita income is about 470,000 euros. About half a million dollars this is the highest per capita income in the world. The Vatican state owns a daily newspaper, a radio and a bank. Its structure is very complex. The sovereignty lies within the Holy See which is under the Pope's authority.