Children's hospital cash funded cardinal's plush apartment

Children's hospital cash funded cardinal's plush apartment April 4, 2016

Funds designated for sick children were allegedly diverted to pay for costly renovations to the apartment of the Vatican’s former Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 81, above.
According to estimates published in the Italian press, each of the bedrooms has its own private bathroom, and the kitchen facilities are befitting a banquet hall. Bertone spent $22,000 on eight independent sharable audio programmes and audio controls with LCD display for each environment.
That, writes Barbie Latza Nadeau of the Daily Beast:

Essentially boils down to a sound system where each room in the lavish apartment, including the rooftop chapel, can be programmed with its own mood music. This, for a prelate and three nuns who have no official role whatsoever in Francis’s church.

She adds:

The massive-for-Rome apartment is being floored with 2,400 square feet of expensive herringbone oak parquet which cost the cardinal and the hospital $28,000. A smaller 750-square-foot area is being covered with luxury white Carrara marble at a price tag of $11,000. The double-glaze energy efficient windows cost $80,000 and the front security door is priced at $6,000.
The high-efficiency silent heat pumps cost $32,000 and climate control dehumidifying system comes in at $19,000.

Bertone – who served in the Vatican’s No 2 position as Secretary of State from 2006 until Pope Francis retired him in 2013 – decided to combine two vacant Vatican-owned rooftop apartments for himself and his three service nuns at an estimated cost of around half a million euro, which was discounted by 50 percent, according to official estimates published by the Italian newspaper Il Tempo.

But despite the considerable savings, the renovations were apparently paid for twice, meaning the discount was likely down to creative – or corrupt – accounting, which is being investigated by a Vatican Tribunal that opened a criminal dossier into the matter last week.
Italian journalist and author Emiliano Fittipaldi claimed funds designated for sick children were diverted for the apartment’s restoration through a London-based holding company controlled by Gianantonio Bandera, a friend of Bertone’s.
The investigation into the affair involves two executives from Rome’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital – former chairman Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer Massimo Spina – on allegations that they misappropriated hospital funds to pay for the restoration of the apartment while Bertone was Secretary of State.
Greg Burke, deputy director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the probe on March 31. He said Bertone was not under investigation.
Fittipaldi, author of Avarice, and another journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi, are currently facing charges in the so-called Vatileaks trial for receiving and publishing confidential Vatican documents on the Holy See’s financial excesses in separate books last year. The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.
After their explosive books were released, Bertone insisted he paid for his apartment renovations with his own money, but he donated $170,000 to the children’s hospital last December.
At the time, Bertone said that the funds he paid to the hospital were a voluntary donation, not a reimbursement, and that he felt he had been slandered by some kind of “holy alliance” against him. Bertone said:

It is a donation that reflects my sentimental attachment to the hospital and its little patients.

Bertone says he can prove he paid around $340,000 for the work out of his own pocket, but the foundation that raises money for the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu children’s hospital apparently also paid $455,000.
Two years ago, Italian media reports claimed Bertone had angered Pope Francis with a move to combine and renovate two apartments and create a 6,500-square-foot residence in the San Carlo palace next to the St Martha Residence where Francis lives. Bertone’s term of office was highly divisive in the Vatican administration, and he was replaced by the current Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, in 2013.
Before his removal, the cardinal lashed out, saying he was the victim of “moles and vipers” in the Vatican.

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  • L.Long

    Hell! Look at that funny hat and dress he is wearing!!! The cost of that alone would keep 10 poor people in Nigeria in food for 10yrs!!!!!! Explain again how these hypocrites help poor people???

  • E Martin

    I was taken by the designation “service nuns”. Could mean a lot of things.

  • Isabel Sinton

    Maybe Jesus will take care of the sick children at Bambino Gesu Children’s . Bertone seems to be taking care of himself. Three service nuns? Indeed.

  • lucy1

    ‘his three service nuns’??? WTF?
    ‘Bertone insisted he paid for his apartment renovations with his own money, ” and where the fuck did he get such a lot of money?
    God I hate these people.

  • tonye

    The always reliable RC church, just when you think they could not sink any lower, they manage to plumb new depths.

  • Daz

    If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.


  • Broga

    Only recently has it been possible to expose the corruption of these low lives. They are the scrapings from the sewers of humanity. And yet the faithful, complicit by their support, still ignore the scams. Tough on the sick children. But when did the RC Church ever care about children?

  • Barty

    The RCC is the biggest and most overt criminal organisation in the world. It has been for centuries and will continue to be so until the foolish faithful who support it come to their senses and bring it down by walking away. It is an evil criminal organisation operating under the camouflage of divine authority. Want to know who killed Kennedy … look no further than Rome. Want to know who was behind all the South American Juntas … look no further than Rome. Want to know why the USA persisted with the Vietnam War … look no further than Rome. Child rape, money laundering, denial of healthcare to women, child traffiking, proliferation of aids …. we all know the RCC is befouled with those but most people do not realise how the RCC and its Jesuit branch have for centuries worked to destabilise countries and goverments to advance their agenda … which is political control and extortion on a global scale.

  • Stonyground

    Isn’t this just a specific example of what the Catholic Church does generally? They have been pretending to collect money for poor people and then spending it on themselves for two thousand years, who knew?

  • Brian Jordan

    I’m sure I’ve seen that chap on Father Ted.

  • Margaret Fagan

    The RCC cares so much about children before they’re born. But after, good luck – luxuriously housed prelates are far more important than sick kids.

  • harrynutsak

    Down with this sort of thing.

  • Stuart H.

    ‘Giuseppe Profiti ‘?
    Apt name – wouldn’t that translate as something like ‘Joe Profit’?

  • Daz

    Giuseppe Profiti: Fi! Peter, pious pig!
    Tarcisio Bertone: Orbits a erection.
    Massimo Spina: I am sop in mass.

  • Pingback: Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor - Butterflies and Wheels()

  • Mel

    3 “Service Nuns”… that joke pretty much writes itself!

  • Angela_K

    This guy has obviously been inspired by the infamous Albanian fraud, Teresa. Rob from the poor and keep the cash for yourself.

  • Vanity Unfair

    We must remember that, as yet, these are only very detailed allegations made after stringent examination of official records.
    I, on the other hand, can only remember that priests in most orders take a vow of poverty. (Personally, I don’t expect them to take that to extremes.)
    I also seem to remember that the celibacy issue was to prevent priests having any long-term reason to amass personal wealth.
    The investigation was conducted by COSEA – the Pontifical Commission of Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure in the Vatican which looks as though only admin mismanagement was under scrutiny and not criminal nefariousness. That could be why the cardinal is not under investigation. Neat.

  • sailor1031

    This squalid little thief became a member of the Salesians of John Bosco in 1950. They take a vow of poverty. So good question; where did he get the 340K from? These people have NO shame.

  • Francis the talking Pope has had a great deal to say about now nations should take in people from across their boundaries.
    Since His Holiness, Himself, is the sole ruler of the Holy See, let Him lead by example. Take in one – just one, that’s all – man, woman or child. More if you like, but one is a good start.
    Or perhaps the man incapable of moral failure in instructions is a swindler who keeps his friends in lavish luxury while strangers starve on the streets.

  • 1859

    Remember the almost exact same story of the German bishop a couple of years agowho spent a fortune renovating his ‘residence’. The guy above looks like, and is, on a par with a gangster – the shades and cravat say it all for me – a self-preening toad. The more we can expose the foul nature of the RCC to more people will, as Barty says, walk away. The sooner the better.

  • barriejohn

    @1859: Not in any way related to this obnoxious toad, I suppose? (Apologies to any toads who may be reading this article.)
    “Whoever experiences poverty in person will discover the true greatness of God.”
    (Continues in same vein for next 62 pages)

  • 1859

    Yeah that’s the guy. Thanks.
    I’m often baffled by the idea of status and the costumes of status – kings, queens, priests, bishops, popes, etc. It’s like they are trying to convince people that they are looking not at another human being but at a ‘special’, more deserving being – an authority figure, of more ‘value’. Can’t get my head around it somehow. When I was a kid I once saw a very good real photograph taken by some avant guard photo artist. It showed a mountainside covered with naked men and women just standing side by side with their backs to the camera, so that all you could see was a sea of bums and sagging white flesh. It made see all humans as just naked bags of limp, pasty skin – just pig-like creatures on bare rocks. So when I saw the RC priest in my local church dressed up as some divine fairy, I always closed my eyes and imagined him as a bag of pinky-white skin standing on beside a mountain.Ah the pleasures of a kid’s imagination!

  • barriejohn

    @1859: Robes of office are obviously a very primitive thing, and demands for reverence usually reduce me to fits of giggles, especially when those concerned start talking in the silly, hushed and hallowed tones that they tend to use. I don’t know when you were “a kid”, but that sounds like Spencer Tunick. When confronted with some jumped-up little martinet, always imagine him naked!

  • Laura Roberts

    @TrevorBlake: “Since His Holiness, Himself, is the sole ruler of the Holy See, let Him lead by example. Take in one – just one, that’s all – man, woman or child. More if you like, but one is a good start.”
    Given their record with children, I’d prefer it if they focus on adults first.

  • Cali Ron

    Personally I’d rather the RCC help children by not taking them into the vatican so his fancy robed minions can’t get their horny hands and whatever else on the children. By not taking any poor children in the pope has inadvertently saved them from abuse.

  • John

    Anyone really surprised by this? It is par for the course, is it not?