Home Christian News The Kingdom and the NGO: Vatican Financial Trial Exposes Internal Rivalries

The Kingdom and the NGO: Vatican Financial Trial Exposes Internal Rivalries

But the pope’s homily and the fallout of the London realty deal show that friction between the Vatican bank and the Secretariat has as much to do with differing visions of the church: a kingdom with its roots in medieval court life or an NGO-style international institution. Carlino’s testimony points to how the curial culture of the Secretariat clashed with the globalist ambitions of the Vatican bank.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu speaks during a press conference on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Vatican City. RNS photo by Claire Giangravé

The bank’s chief, de Franssu, denies that the clash exists at all: “There is no war,” he told Italian media in 2019, denying that the bank’s whistleblowing to Vatican prosecutors was an attack on the Secretariat.

But Francis‘ take is more difficult to determine. Since the start of the Vatican trial, he has greatly diminished the Secretariat’s power, cutting its purse strings and removing its representative from the council overseeing the Vatican bank. His new Apostolic Constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium,” published in March, created more spaces for lay leadership in the Roman Curia, and he has long counseled the bureaucracy of clerics to see themselves as servants, and not tend their own power.

But given the choice to hand the financial management to the Vatican bank, Francis chose to centralize the church’s finances in the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, or APSA.

Headed by Italian Bishop Nunzio Galantino, APSA remains a black box. One clue to its sympathies, however, is that when the Vatican bank changed its mind and canceled the Secretariat’s loan, APSA borrowed $150 million from foreign banks to bail the church out of the London deal.

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This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.