For some reason, my parish is a few weeks behind on the annual “Peter’s Pence” collection. We had the envelopes in this pews this weekend and will take up the collection to aid the Pope’s efforts next week. Per the USCCB website:
The purpose of the Peter’s Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease.
As I sat looking at the collection envelope last night, I prayed about this Rome Reports video I’d just seen on Saturday:
The video shares additional information on the recent arrest of a high ranking Vatican bank official:
The Vatican has hired a consulting company, to investigate suspicious transactions reported under the Vatican’s Financial Intelligence Unit, known as AIF. In light of the recent arrest of former Vatican accountant, Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, the Vatican’s Bank, or IOR, hired a team from the ‘Promontory Financial Group.’ The company was hired to carry out an objective review of suspicious transactions.
Obviously, there is a lot about the Vatican Banking scandal that I don’t understand. I’m not up on all of the details — I can only tell you that when I hear the words “Vatican” and “bank” and “scandal” in the same sentence, I get shivers up my spine.
But it hasn’t impacted my giving habits. I don’t write that to brag or to cajole you into giving more. I’m simply saying that we give to our parish routinely — almost in the same way we pay our electricity bill or mortgage — and that our giving hasn’t decreased or varied since the news of these financial improprieties came up. But I wonder if we’re the norm, or if families out there are beginning to feel distrust for their parishes’ financial administration simply because of what’s happening at the Vatican.
It would seem that an early focus of Pope Francis’ pontificate will have to be the “cleaning house” details that cause major overhaul to some institutions that have perhaps lacked effective oversight in the past. This round of bad news likely isn’t the last we’ll hear about horrific situations that have gone unchecked for too long.
A question for you: Has the Vatican Banking scandal changed the way you give to the Church, to religious charities, or even to secular non-profit agencies?