The meeting did in fact take place, but without any final statement. Formally, Gotti Tedeschi has not yet been dismissed, and he is mustering the weapons to make his defense.
But meanwhile, the conflict has moved to where it counts the most, within the commission of cardinals. Where there is Bertone as its president, but also Attilio Nicora, who has almost never been in agreement with him, and Jean-Louis Tauran, who as former foreign minister of the Holy See has never been able to swallow the entrusting of the secretariat of state to someone with no expertise in diplomacy, like Bertone.
One of the other two cardinals of the commission, Telesphore Placidus Toppo, lives in India, and the other in Brazil, Odilo Pedro Scherer. Justified absences.
The last battleground between Bertone and Nicora was the set of regulations introduced in Vatican City for admission to the international “white list” of states with the highest standards in fighting money laundering.
It is amazing that in the statement against Gotti Tedeschi there is no reference to this essential point of contention.
To write the regulations, Gotti Tedeschi and Cardinal Nicora had called upon the two leading Italian experts in the matter, Marcello Condemi and Francesco De Pasquale, both of the brood of Banca d’Italia. The law, number 127 in the Vatican numeration, went into effect on April 1, 2011, and in conjunction with this Benedict XVI, with a motu proprio, endowed the Vatican with a Financial Information Authority, headed by Nicora, with powers of absolute control over every movement of money performed by any office within the Holy See or connected to it, including the IOR and the secretariat of state.
But as soon as these regulations were approved, the counteroffensive began.
The management of the IOR, the secretariat of state and the governorate objected that with it the Vatican was losing its sovereignty and becoming an “enclave” of external banking, political, and judicial powers. They had a trusted American lawyer, Jeffrey Lena, rewrite the law, and last winter, by decree, they implemented a second version that limited the supervisory powers of the Financial Information Authority, subordinating them to those of the secretariat of state.
According to its proponents, the new regulations also correspond better to the international requests for transparency.
But both Nicora and Gotti Tedeschi are of a diametrically opposed view. They judge the new law 127 as “a step backward” that will cost the Holy See its admission to the “white list.”
A first response from the international authorities on the anti-laundering regulations in effect at the Vatican is expected in July.
But the preliminary judgments expressed by the inspectors of Moneyval after two rounds of of investigation at the Vatican do not bode well.
The first version of law 127, examined under ten different aspects, had received six votes in favor and four against.
The second version received eight votes against, and only two in favor.
Meanwhile, in the Vatican it is war. Cardinal Bertone is also under fire for the campaign he conducted in 2011 for the purchase, with the money of the IOR, of the San Raffaele, the cutting edge hospital established in Milan by a controversial priest, Fr. Luigi Verzé, plunged into a whirlpool of debt.
At first Gotti Tedeschi supported the purchase offer, but very soon he joined the opponents, including cardinals Nicora and Angelo Scola, the new archbishop of Milan, and Benedict XVI, highly opposed to the purchase not only because of the direct involvement of the Holy See in a worldly affair too far from its spiritual ends but also because at the San Raffaele and the affiliated university activities are practiced and teachings are imparted that are in glaring contradiction with Catholic doctrine; and it is certainly not possible to replace en masse the physicians, scientists, and professors.
In the end, Bertone gave up and the San Raffaele was purchased by a leading Italian entrepreneur in the health care sector, Giuseppe Rotelli.