The 1 July resignation of Paolo Cipriani and Massimo Tulli – director and deputy director of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR), the so-called ‘Vatican bank’ – followed shortly after Pope Francis’ decision to establish an investigative commission into the bank’s operations, and the arrest on 28 June of a senior cleric and two alleged accomplices over an attempt to smuggle €20 million from Switzerland.

Part of the strategy is no doubt to reduce the impact of charges that Italian magistrates may bring against IOR. But it also appears that the pontiff’s inner circle and the Italian judiciary are de facto allies in trying to bring daylight into the bank’s operations.

That was one of the mandates that the Papal Conclave handed the former Buenos Aires archbishop: cleaning up Vatican finances as part of an overall effort to repair the Holy See’s tattered image. The new Pope seems determined to fulfill this mandate. Italian prosecutors have a different goal: preventing IOR from being used for criminal money laundering on Italian territory. Their success is needed to stop the Vatican’s bleeding of money and moral credibility.

Massimo Franco is a political columnist for the leading Italian daily Corriere della Sera. He is the author of ‘The First Global Pope’ in the June-July issue of Survival.

Back to content list

Politics and Strategy Homepage

The Survival Editors' Blog

Ideas and commentary from Survival editors and contributors

Latest Posts

  • Politics and Strategy
    04 March 2015

    Jeffrey Mazo: Northern Exposure Redux

    When I gave evidence last July to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Arctic, on the topic of defence security, the last question from the chairman was, ‘Bringing us back to the UK, what one thing, within this...

  • Politics and Strategy
    03 March 2015

    Dana H. Allin: Mr Netanyahu Goes to Washington

    A few hours after the posting of this commentary, Benjamin Netanyahu will ascend to the podium of the US House of Representatives chamber to address a joint session of Congress. I don’t know precisely what he will say, but I...

  • Politics and Strategy
    02 March 2015

    Mark Fitzpatrick: North Korea won’t have 100 nukes by 2020, but that’s no comfort

    When analysts offer a range of possibilities about future nuclear and missile threats, the typical journalistic response is to hype the worst of the cases presented. Thus, the lead in most stories about a new report on growth in North...

  • Politics and Strategy
    19 February 2015

    Jeffrey Mazo: The three percent solution

    Last April, when the RAF deployed four Typhoon aircraft to Lithuania in response to events in Ukraine, a popular British satirical TV show commented: ‘Four? The entire air force? Are they mad?’ Defence cuts haven’t got that bad, but are...

  • Politics and Strategy
    16 February 2015

    Erik Jones: The Three Faces of Credibility

    As an academic, I am interested in the power of ideas. If ideas didn’t matter, I would probably look for another job. Fortunately, the power of ideas is all around us. This is not a reference to the terrible events...