Today Pope Francis celebrated a Mass for some officers of the controversial Vatican bank IOR (Istituto per le Opere di Religione – Institute for Religious Deeds).
In a shocking declaration, he said about the bank that ‘everything is necessary, offices are necessary, but only to a certain extent’.
According to the Pope, too many offices and bureaucracy risk to ‘turn the Church into a NGO’.
In the Eighties, the IOR and his Director Cardinal John Marcinkus were involved in the scandal related to the bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano. An Italian judge even ordered the arrest of Cardinal Marcinkus, which of course never happened. At least three mysterious deaths were an integral part of the scandal. Roberto Calvi, the President of Banco Ambrosiano, and his secretary Graziella Corrocher both died in apparent suicides, while financier Michele Sindona was famously poisoned in his jail.
In the Nineties, during the Italian corruption scandals, the IOR was accused of money laundering and of giving false information to Italian investigators.
Other investigations involving the Vatican bank took place in the last years.
In 2012, Director Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was dismissed for unclear reasons.