Vatican Bank launches website to boost transparency

The Vatican bank has launched a website in the wake of a series of scandals and criticism for alleged lack of transparency.

Vatican Radio quoted bank president Ernst von Freyberg that the site will provide information “on our reforms and the things we do in the world and how we support the Church and its mission and charitable works.”

The bank, which is officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion, has been the target of investigations by Italian authorities.

Freyberg said he plans to run the bank in line with international norms. “Our task is to run [the bank] in a way that it can respond to international norms, that it is a clean institute and one of service,” von Freyberg was quoted as saying.

He said the new measures are aimed at giving Pope Francis the ability to decide the right formula for the bank.

Pope Francis last week said the bank must become “honest and transparent.”

The pope made his comments at the end of his first international trip to Brazil for the World Youth Day celebrations.

“I don’t know what will become of the bank. Some say it is better that is a bank, others that it should be a charitable fund and others say close it,” he said.

“We have to find the solution,” Francis said. “But whatever the solution, it must have transparency and honesty. That’s the way it must be,” he said.

The Vatican earlier confirmed its Financial Information Authority had signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian authorities over the exchange of financial information to combat money laundering in line with international standards.

The Vatican has already signed similar agreements with other countries, including the United States.

Visitors to the Vatican Bank website can read about the bank’s 71-year history, how many customers it has (18,900, as of last year), its employees (114), and its net profit for 2012, listed as €86.6m (£75.6m).



Chicago Tribune


The Guardian

Image: AFP/Getty Images/NYT

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