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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”

Vatican Bank Focuses on Transparency


Its official name is IOR, the Institute for Works of Religion. This is a unique bank: it only makes ethical investments, their profits go to charity and their customers are dioceses, religious orders and Vatican departments and employees. 

Marco Tosatti 
Vatican expert
"The IOR is a very sui generis bank, that was created in 1942 by Pope Pius XII. According to its statutes it only can receive deposits from Vatican officials, religious congregations, local clergy and other people like that."

A year ago, Benedict XVI appointed Italian Ettore Gotti Tedeschi as new president of the bank of the Vatican. He asked him to make the bank completely transparent - that is, adapt it to European laws that require customers to identify all operations. 

According to the Vatican, since January it’s been working with the Bank of Italy and European organizations to fully regularize its processes before December 31.

But bureaucratic mistakes can still be made. Last September, the IOR made two transfers without revealing the names of clients. These were then blocked by the Italian authorities. 

The Vatican bank chief said it was an internal treasury operation, not an order for its customers. He called it a misunderstanding. 

Marco Tosatti 
"There are a number of accounts whose owners are known only to the bank. And I think this is the current problem in the sense that to adapt to European anti-money laundering rules – a work that the bank is doing now by its President Gotti Tedeschi, after a mandate of the Pope and Bertone – it is necessary that these accounts are removed or become totally transparent."

Since the incident, the Pope has publicly supported the Bank’s current president. 

Marco Tosatti 
"If there is a management team that’s capable of making the IOR transparent, this is it. Unfortunately, as often happens with the paradoxes, the injustices of history, a more transparent management is the one who has problems."

The only Vatican bank office is located here in the tower of Niccolò V. It has 130 employees and 44 000 current accounts. Its interest rates range from 4 and 12%, and there’s no tax. It’s financial assets are thought to amount to 5 billion euros. 

It’s a place surrounded by discretion. The most visible part of the IOR are its ATM machines whose on-screen instructions are – naturally – in Latin.