After writing previously about the trouble the Vatican bank is having with money-laundering allegations, my plan was to write this column about the pedophile problems that may be linked to the pope’s resignation.
However, the story keeps changing. I just read that among the pope’s final acts has been transferring a Monsignor Ettore Balestrero to Colombia to be the papal nuncio there. The recent scandal known as Vatileaks (you will recall the story of the Pope’s butler stealing and releasing some private papers) involved a secret report about the theft written by three cardinals, to be read only by the Pope. According to the Italian Panorama magazine and La Repubblica newspaper, sources close to the three cardinals leaked that the Pope had decided to resign in December after receiving the dossier, allegedly detailing a network of sex and corruption inside the Vatican.
But here’s the kicker: According to the same Italian media, Balestrero’s name is in the secret report.
Balestrero’s current job in the Vatican? Under-secretary of the Foreign Ministry. While the title doesn’t say much, his actual work was to head the Holy See's delegation to the Council of Europe's Moneyval committee, which evaluated the Vatican's anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing measures (which body had accused the Vatican bank of chicanery.) It was his job to lobby the Council of Europe to boost the Vatican Bank’s financial rating.
Since, as we commented in the previous column, the Vatican’s credit has become so messed up that you can’t even use a credit card to buy your “Pope Benedict XVI Action Figure” in the Vatican gift shop now, it would appear Balestrero has failed.
So why would he be ‘promoted’ to Vatican ambassador to Colombia? Surely the ‘vicar of Christ’ would never transfer a man halfway round the world to keep him from answering uncomfortable questions from the authorities?
I guess we’ll have to leave the pedophiles alone until the next column.