Jan 27, 2012

Vatican Scandal

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

And it's not... You know...

Money. This time it's money.

The Vatican was shaken by a corruption scandal Thursday after an Italian television investigation said a former top official had been transferred against his will after complaining about irregularities in awarding contracts.

. . .

Vigano, currently the Vatican's ambassador in Washington, said in the letters that when he took the job in 2009 he discovered a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices.

In one letter, Vigano tells the pope of a smear campaign against him (Vigano) by other Vatican officials who wanted him transferred because they were upset that he had taken drastic steps to save the Vatican money by cleaning up its procedures.

For his crime of trying to bring the Vatican's spending into integrity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano was "promoted" to a figurative Siberia: Washington DC, where he now serves as the papal nuncio.

Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, insisted on the show that Vigano’s transfer to Washington wasn’t a punishment for exposing wrongdoing or stepping on too many toes. He noted that Vigano had been in the Vatican’s diplomatic service for years and said he was being promoted to the Holy See’s most important overseas post.

“He wasn’t sent away. He was made the pope’s representative in Washington!” Vian said.

Letters revealed in Wednesday's broadcast show that Vigano was quite clear that he was being forced out of a position he was supposed to hold until 2014 because he was being all correct and stuff by demanding proper bidding for contracts.

Vigano's transfer may point to deeper rifts within the Vatican.

Marco Politi, a Vatican correspondent for the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano and the author of a book about the pope, said in an interview that there were signs that “discontent is growing” with Cardinal Bertone’s administration. 

“This shows once again that Bertone does not know how to manage the Vatican machine,” Mr. Politi said. “It also shows that there is tension within the Curia, because that’s how the letters got out.”

Officially, the Vatican is putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the media, expressing "disappointment," and threatening litigation over the public revelation of its internal communication.

The Vatican also warned that it could take legal action against a TV show that reported on the case. The Italian investigative news program, "The Untouchables," showed letters from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano to Pope Benedict XVI begging not to be transferred after exposing corruption costing the Vatican millions of euros (dollars).

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