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Will Compulsion Succeed Where Conversion has Failed on Vatican Financial Reform?

Maybe what Pope Francis really needs right now is somebody to put a gun to the head of the system.

When Pope Francis recently addressed the ongoing financial reform of the Vatican, he couched the argument in largely spiritual, pastoral and moral terms.

Financial breakdowns recently brought to light, the pope said, “beyond their possible criminality, are hard to reconcile with the nature and purpose of the Church, and they’ve created confusion and worry within the community of the faithful.” He was speaking to Vatican judges on the occasion of the opening of their judicial year.

Though the pope avoided specifics, the reference almost certainly was to a recent contretemps involving a $220 million land deal in London (mostly financed by collections from Peter’s Pence) in which the Vatican’s Secretariat of State allegedly tried to skirt reporting requirements for a loan intended to buy up the remaining shares of the property. That’s an especially alarming development, given that the Secretariat of State also bears the lion’s share of responsibility for enforcing the Vatican’s own accountability and transparency measures.

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