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The Vatican Bank: Super Fast Shady Facts

Hello, Vatican City!

The smallest country in the world surrounded by Rome, Vatican City (Città del Vaticano) is home to the world’s most celebrated paintings and sculptures and governed by an absolute monarchy (aka The Pope). It’s economy is supported by the sale of tourism souvenirs, postage stamps, museum fees, and is also one of the two countries that doesn’t allow divorce (the other is The Philippines).

And just because Popes and Nuns reside within it’s borders, doesn’t mean they know how to party--because Vatican City is the number one country that consumes the most wine per capita with a total of 70 bottles per person annually. In vino, veritas! (that’s Latin for in wine, truth).

So how does a country so small have a bank so shady? Well let’s all have a look!

Once upon a time, the Vatican operated with donations, and sold pieces of paper as a “exchange your sins with this” type of deal.

In 1929, it appointed a new financial adviser, Bernadino Nogara, who grew a 92 million dollar investment from Mussolini into 1 billion.

Nogara created the bank during World War II to avoid financial transactions tracked through western banks and because it’s a bank inside Vatican city, it was exempt from all wartime restrictions.

The Vatican bank made money off the murder of Jews during the holocaust.

A German officer admitted to having many war-time spies in the Vatican, one of them potentially being Nogara, the acclaimed and able financial adviser. During the war, Nogara began investing in Italian insurance companies which "developed into stakes that profited from the ongoing murder of Europe's Jews.

These companies made money by keeping all financial assets from life insurance policies of deceased Jewish policyholders, and refusing to pay for those still living. But because the Vatican was not a direct insurer, it was never required to pay compensation after the war.

The church also aided and saved many Nazi war criminals after the war.

in 1973 According to an 18-month FBI investigation, New York mobsters were planning to sell counterfeit corporate bonds and stock certificates to the Vatican, a $900 million payment in five installments over several months.

In the 1980’s the Pope authorized the sending of millions in funds to help the Polish resistance

In 2009, an Italian journalist published a book based on hundreds of internal documents smuggled out of the Vatican Bank that proved fake charity accounts were created and instead used for political donations, laundering, and embezzlement.

In 2012, four priests came under investigation for operating bank accounts for the Mafia to launder money.

In March 2018, a former president of the Vatican Bank was ordered to stand trial on charges of $60 million embezzlement and money laundering.

I may have never identified with a religion, but I’m pretty sure any God would prefer to not have money made from its name. But here we are, living in a world where adults prioritize cash over morality.

I decided to make a list, specifically for you religious folks, of things you can do that’s more Jesus like than donating to a church:

  • Asking a homeless man what he wants to eat and buying him take-out

  • Volunteering at a homeless shelter

  • Volunteering at an animal shelter

  • Volunteering at a juvenile hall

  • Short texts, but Jesus would probably email or, I don’t know, call.

  • On the topic, Jesus would definitely be straight forward and not play hard to get because HE’S A GROWN ASS MAN

  • Be nice to people with different opinions

This was a half-assed essay. I’m behind on school work. Thanks for reading.

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