When Pope Francis took on the papacy in March, he likely knew he was going to face a good many challenges when it came to dealing with the Vatican’s public image
That list of challenges got a little, or maybe a lot, longer Friday. It now includes explaining and rooting out alleged financial fraud.
Italian police arrested Bishop Nunzio Scarano, an official in the Vatican bank, along with two other men, in connection with the illegal transport of 20 million euros (about $26 million) from Switzerland to Italy, possibly using an Italian government plane.
Italian police were apparently investigating Scarano for weeks. Pope Francis on Wednesday set up a five-person, internal committee to investigate Vatican corruption.
The Vatican Information Service issued a press release
regarding the arrest, which included a statement from Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office.
“Msgr. Nunzio Scarano was suspended from his position at the APSA over a month ago, as soon as his superiors were informed that he was under investigation,” Lombardi is quoted as saying. “The Holy See has still not received any request from the competent Italian authorities on the matter, but has confirmed its willingness to cooperate fully.”
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Fr. Alistair Sear, a church historian, told USA Today
, “This is not the end of things. It’s just the start.”
Former priest Pat Buckley, who was excommunicated from the Catholic church for being ordained as a bishop in an independent church, wrote on his blog
“Apart from sex scandals, there is a huge problem in the Catholic church involving financial scandals. I do believe that Pope Francis really wants to address these scandals.”