I couldn’t believe my ears. But today I can.
Sandro Magister, one of Rome’s most veteran and credible vaticanistas, confirmed this afternoon what I had heard – and feared – nearly two weeks ago (See his Nov. 10 editorial “Too Much Confusion. Bertone Puts the Curia Under Lock and Key” ): The Pontifical Council’s controversial Note released two weeks ago “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority” really had not been independently reviewed by the Church’s highest authorities.
The Note, of a very particular worldwide interest, rocked the boat of the Vatican approval system.
At the Vatican Press conference held to debrief international reporters on its Note, the Council’s two highest authorities – President Cardinal Peter Turkson and Secretary Bishop Mario Toso – openly admitted that neither the Pope or any other senior Curial officials had approved or necessarily read the Council’s bold public statement.
It was their Council’s statement. They took full responsibility for recommending a world financial authority and global Tobin tax to stabilize the most destructive financial storm in nearly a century.
The Note was not – and still is not – undersigned by His Holiness Benedect XVI.
Ibidem for Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s second in command.
And now Cardinal Bertone is upset, taking corrective action to prevent this fiasco from ever happening again – especially regarding the release of an opinion of such relevance and sensitivity to the world’s well being.
As Sandro Magister reported:
In the hot seat was the document on the global financial crisis released ten days earlier by the pontifical council for justice and peace. A document that had disturbed many, inside and outside of the Vatican.
The secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, complained that he had not known about it until the last moment. And precisely for this reason he had called that meeting in the secretariat of state.
The conclusion…was that this binding order would be transmitted to all of the offices of the curia: from that point on, nothing in writing would be released unless it had been inspected and authorized by the secretariat of state.
Finally, it has now become ever the more apparent that the practical prescriptions of the Note were not that of any religious professional. The marked economic language and financial terminology implied all along that a Vatican outsider had crafted the Note’s technical recommendations.
As Magister further writes:
On October 22, a further notification added the name of Professor Leonardo Becchetti to the ticket of the presenters [at the press Conference held on Oct. 24. See translation of his remarks].
Becchetti, a professor of economics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata and an expert on microcredit and fair trade, is believed to have been the main architect of the document.
And in fact, at the press conference presenting the document on October 24, his remarks were the most specific, centered in particular on calling for the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, called a “Tobin tax” after the name of its creator, or a “Robin Hood tax.”
What is next? A sequel or redraft of the Council’s Note on global financial and monetary reform? Let’s just say, it will not be any time soon.