Discussion 3 to Meditation 874
Another exciting Vatican week
The Vatican played its "we are not a religious organization, we are a country" card this week in rejecting a lawsuit brought against the Pope by Wisconsin man who had been abused by a priest - a priest who abused hundreds of boys. The lawsuit claims that the Pope conspired to cover up abuse allegations. And there is clear evidence that Cardinal Ratzinger (now the Pope) intervened to block the Milwaukee Diocese from defrocking the abuser.
But, because the Vatican is a "country," such lawsuits can only be served through diplomatic channels. The Vatican also claims that it is not their problem anyway - local bishops are responsible for disciplining abusive priests. A very strange argument given that Ratzinger personally blocked discipline by the local bishop in this very case.
The status of the Vatican as a country also contributed to questions in the British House of Commons this week. Last year's visit of the Pope was treated as a state visit (rather than the visit of a religious leader) at a cost to the British taxpayer of some £10 million. Of this £1.85 million came out of the foreign aid account. Understandably, questions were raised by opposition MPs.
Well, we really can't blame the Vatican for UK Government accounting. But what about their own accounting?
The scandal-plagued Vatican Bank continues to make news. The Pope has appointed a new prelate at the bank who shares responsibility with the CEO. This two people in charge situation serves to confuse outsiders as to who really is running the show. Also, last month, the Vatican appointed a new internal watchdog to check that its bank complies with international law. That only took some 28 years after the bank's links to the Italian underworld were revealed through the death of Roberto Calvi, chairman of a subsidiary of the Vatican Bank.
But, investigations into the bank by outside agencies were blocked for years by the Vatican claiming "We're a country and requests must go through proper diplomatic channels." Even when requests were submitted to the Vatican's standards and malfeasance demonstrated, the Vatican officials could not be prosecuted in Italy - because they were officials of a foreign state.
That's old news. Further money laundering accusations were made last year and with the Vatican finding that other banks do not consider its bank a fit partner, the Vatican is finding it necessary to clean up its act. Thus the new internal watchdog, new religious co-head, and newfound co-operation with Italian authorities in investigating past practices. Perhaps that co-operation is what makes the Vatican feel free to lecture Italian officials on morality over the past couple of weeks.
And to no-one's surprise this week, the nation of the Vatican once again failed to deliver on its head of state's promise of child abuse guidelines.
Note: No comment was offered this week by any Vatican spokesman in response to a Weekly World News story that the Pope had offered to host Jersey Shore for a week in the Vatican.