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
    29 September 2014

    Gary Samore: The Future of the Iran Nuclear Negotiations

    Earlier this month I gave a talk at the IISS Global Strategic Review in Oslo, focusing on the status of the P5+1 negotiations with Iran and in particular the prospects for completing a comprehensive agreement by the deadline of November 24. Since...

  • Politics and Strategy
    19 September 2014

    Alexander Nicoll: The Scottish 'No'

    Scotland will not be applying to join the European Union or NATO. The arguments of recent months about currency union and the British nuclear deterrent are now over. By a margin of 55% to 45%, people living in Scotland have...

  • Politics and Strategy
    18 September 2014

    Dana H. Allin: The United Kingdom at risk?

    The United Kingdom woke up this morning to a dream-like moment of unreality – is its 307-year existence really at risk? The opinion polls on today’s referendum for Scottish independence have tightened, as one would expect – but they’ve tightened...

  • Politics and Strategy
    16 September 2014

    Pierre Noël: Europe must not block the South Stream pipeline

    In responding to the Ukraine security crisis, the European Union should have done whatever it could to insulate the Russia–Europe gas relationship from foreign-policy tension. By opposing South Stream, the pipeline system that would bypass Ukraine as a gas-transit country...

  • Politics and Strategy
    15 September 2014

    Dana H. Allin: Is Obama a too-reluctant warrior?

    My colleague Ben Barry has posted an excellent analysis of the military virtues and disadvantages of the strategy against ISIS that President Obama laid out in his speech last week. As I read Ben’s assessment, the strategy that has emerged...