Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

20180510T1009 0089 CNS VATICAN BANK TRIAL 800The courtroom where Angelo Caloia, the former president of the Institute for Works of Religion, will have his first hearing is pictured at the Vatican May 9. (CNS photo/Vatican Media via Reuters) VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has accused a former director of the Vatican bank and his lawyer of money laundering and embezzlement, saying the men skimmed an estimated 57 million euros (about $68 million) off profits from the sale of Vatican properties.

The trial of Angelo Caloia, who served as president of the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal name of the bank, and his lawyer, Gabriele Liuzzo, began in the Vatican courtroom May 9.

The Vatican had announced in late 2014 that the two men -- along with Lelio Scaletti, the former director general of the bank -- were under investigation in a case involving the sale of 29 Vatican-owned buildings in Rome and Milan between 2001 and 2008. Scaletti has since died.

During the investigation, the Vatican had frozen a total of about 17 million euros ($20 million) in the Vatican bank accounts of the three men. At the opening of the trial May 9, Gian Piero Milano, the Vatican's chief prosecutor, said that at the Vatican's request, the Swiss government froze another 10 million euros ($11.8 million) in a Swiss account in Liuzzo's name.

The first session of the trial lasted almost four hours and included a formal reading of the charges, the presentation of the lists of witnesses expected to be called and the entry of procedural requests. While not setting a date for the next session, the court asked the defense team to submit a reduced list of witnesses by May 18; the initial list submitted by the defense included more than 50 witnesses, including many cardinals who were or are part of the council overseeing the bank.

The court also agreed to a defense request for an official Italian translation of an English-language report of an audit the bank asked the U.S.- based Promontory Financial Group to conduct. The audit, performed at the request of the bank's new leadership, prompted the Vatican's criminal investigation into allegations that the accused sold Vatican property and officially reported a much lower sales price than they actually received, pocketing the difference.

The Vatican court also agreed to a defense request for an independent audit of the properties involved.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.