Pope Francis prepares to tackle some of the Catholic Church’s major problems and he starts with the Vatican Bank, which has been accused of laundering money.
The pontiff is starting with the bank as he plans to reform the Church into a model of austerity and honesty.
Pope Francis has spent the first weeks of his papacy officiating at services and demonstrating how true servants of God should be.
Those close to Pope Francis, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say that he is considering plans to remove the head of the Vatican Bank, Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone, who is the Vatican’s second-in-command and is largely blamed for failing to stop infighting and corruption within the Holy See.
The officials warned that it would take time to change the bank, or to close it, but that it could certainly happen. One official doubted the likelihood that it would close, but that instead it would undergo serious restructuring.
Pope Francis, the officials say, has also indicated that he plans to tackle a number of other issues including scandals involving the sexual abuse of children around the world. The actions of a small minority of individuals has tainted the reputation of the 1.2 billion member church. Sadly, those problems have been exacerbated by the failure of Church leadership to cooperate with local authorities and to protect children in some cases.
It is expected that Pope Francis will also deal with this issue quite definitively, although no specifics have yet been discussed.
In many ways, Pope Francis represents a serious coup for the Church. Many Cardinals have been upset with how the Italian Cardinals, which dominate the Curia, have been operating. Therefore, it makes sense that after much prayer and petition, God should choose a relative outsider of great piety and spirit to cleanse His Church.
Insiders say that Pope Benedict XVI left a carefully composed secret report for Pope Francis. That report supposedly contains secret documents and a frank assessment of the scandals facing the Church. They discuss troubles with the Vatican bank as well as the Vatileaks scandal in which secret documents were smuggled out of the Vatican by Pope Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele.
Paolo Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months in prison but was later pardoned and released by Pope Benedict XVI before Christmas.
Meanwhile watchdog organizations will continue monitoring the Vatican Bank and report on its progress.