The FT has an excellent report on its 11 month in-depth investigation of the Vatican bank scandal, in which corruption, mafia money-laundering, fraud, and money-smuggling all prominently featured. The piece gives good background on an issue that has filtered down to much MSM coverage of the Catholic Church, but its most timely sections are those looking at the prospects for reform. Happily, the article describes a successful reform movement already very much underway:
Bankers familiar with the transition between popes describe the past year as marking an epochal change. The Vatican hierarchy is taking steps to appoint experienced regulators to head a new, prudential supervisor, Vatican insiders say. Big Four auditors are looking at its accounts. The Vatican bank staff was once dominated by Italians; now it is opening its doors to foreign bankers with global experience. The clean-up has also extended to enhanced oversight of the Vatican’s treasury, known as the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (Apsa), which controls the Catholic Church’s real estate portfolio and oversees holdings of government bonds
Still, the FT argues that much remains to be done, and the fate of future reforms hangs on Pope Francis’ shoulders. From the very week of Francis’ election to this day, there have been a lot of people skeptical that Francis will work any real reform at the Vatican, that he has any substance to back up his style. How we deals with the Vatican bank could be the first real test of that skepticism, but if the changes that have already happened since he became Pope are any indication, the prospects for the future look good. Read the whole thing.