“A measure calling for the statue of Father Junipero Serra in the U.S. Capitol to be replaced with one of NASA astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was shelved in the Legislature on July 2. [Ride] would be the first woman to represent California in the collection and the first known gay person.” State legislatures have the authority to decide which two statues will represent their state at the U.S. Capitol.
The measure to replace Serra’s statue had already passed the California Senate in April. The Assembly vote was postponed because of the pope’s visit to the U.S. “Our concerns are mostly due to the timing of this legislative debate,” Sandra Palacios, associate director of governmental affairs at the California Catholic Conference, said at an Assembly committee hearing this week.” The U.S. bishops’ paid lobbyists in every state are called “Catholic Conferences.”
Pope Francis called Serra “one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality, and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country.” The pope will canonize Serra in September in Washington D.C. The 18th century Spanish Franciscan friar founded the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California. In a rare display of criticism for this pope, Native Americans and others protested honoring a man who participated in the brutalization of indigenous people. “By 1818 the percentage of Indians who died in the missions reached 86 percent. Over 81,000 Indian ‘converts’ eventually managed to successfully flee the missions.”
The postponement followed “a heavy campaign to save the statue. A Spanish-language website, ‘Salvemos a Serra’, or ‘Let’s Save Serra’, called on Californians to write their legislators in opposition to the resolution. … ‘Salvemos a Serra’ had also asked supporters of Blessed Serra to sign English- and Spanish-language petitions on the website CitizenGo.org. The petitions were posted by Alejandro Bermudez, executive director of Catholic News Agency. More than 47,000 did so.”
Within five days, the Catholic Church “notched [another] prominent win at the California statehouse.” The July 7 decision by a legislative committee to shelve a bill allowing terminally ill patients to legally end their lives “followed weeks of lobbying by competing interest groups over whether to make California the next state to allow physicians to legally prescribe fatal medication, following Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.” “A new poll released by Compassion and Choices, the chief right-to-die advocacy group, suggests that 69 percent of Californians would vote for the bill if put in front of them.”
“The holdouts included lawmakers from heavily Catholic districts in the Los Angeles area where the archdiocese is actively opposing the bill. Similar legislation failed in 2007 amid religious opposition.”
“An archdiocese website urged volunteers to get involved. Parishioners and seminarians called and met with legislators. Using English and Spanish, the Diocese of Orange urged parishioners on its website to write members of the Legislature to oppose the bill. … The key is ‘constituents and voters contacting their legislators,’ Tim Rosales of Californians Against Assisted Suicide said. … George Eighmey, vice president of Death With Dignity, a group that supports medically assisted suicide, blamed the Church for blocking the bill in a fundraising email to supporters.”
The prelate of the Los Angeles archdiocese, José Gómez, was born in Mexico and ordained a priest of Opus Dei in Spain. Gómez headed the Opus Dei regional headquarters in Houston, center of the U.S. petro-chemical industry, before being named an auxiliary bishop under Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput in 2001. Chaput is the eminence grise of the U.S. episcopate in planning political campaigns to elect Republicans as I showed in my book, The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America. Gómez was appointed to lead the Church in Los Angeles the same month (April 2010) that Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who had given an invocation at the 2008 Republican National Convention, was put in charge of Miami, another center of Latin American voting power.
(Opus Dei is a secret society of global financiers, bankers and their supporters leading the Church’s support of right-wing factions, parties and governments. (Hutchison, Their Kingdom Come: Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei) The names of members are never disclosed unless a person admits his/her affiliation. The names of the clergy ordained into the Opus Dei religious order are, however, public. Their Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome has a School of Church Communications.)
Pope Francis “will make Latino Catholicism a centerpiece of this U.S. visit.” While former Fox News correspondent, member of Opus Dei and Vatican media adviser, Greg Burke, “helped Pope Francis practice and polish his English for his visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines,” the pontiff is “likely to stick to Spanish whenever possible – and the venues and large number of Latino Catholics in the U.S. will help him out. … A ‘significant portion’ of the approximately 25,000 tickets for the first outdoor public Mass – the Sept. 23 canonization of the Bl. Junipero Serra [to be said in Spanish] – will be reserved for Latinos.”
“Pope Francis has expressed an interest in making a brief appearance on the West Front of the Capitol” after his address to Congress. “House Speaker John Boehner is preparing an ‘inauguration-like setting.’” “Images of a pope greeting the public with the iconic U.S. Capitol building as a backdrop will be novel, the possibility of which was unimaginable until relatively recently.”
“The pope’s address in front of Independence Hall on immigration [will be] to an audience expected to be made up mainly of Latinos.” An outdoor Mass at the Philadelphia Art Museum is also scheduled. “If you were Rocky and just ran up steps and turned around,” that is where the pope will celebrate Mass, said Meg Kane, handling public relations for the “event.” Tickets to the front area at the Mass are being reserved for people who are poor and homeless.
The Bush/Bergoglio Campaigns
While anyone paying attention would know how the U.S. cardinals and their well-funded media machine engineered the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Catholic blogger, Gerald Slevin, a Harvard and Catholic “schooled” retired international lawyer, was alone in noting that a Latin American pope would sway Latinos to vote Republican. Since mostly Latino Catholics have successfully postponed and halted majority-backed measures in California and Pope Francis “will make Latino Catholicism a centerpiece of this U.S. visit,” I think Slevin was correct.
“In 2012, Latinos accounted for 11 percent of all eligible voters. The Latino electorate will increase by 17 percent from 2012 to 2016.” Just as important for the future, 32.8 percent of Latinos are under the age of 18, compared to 19.5 percent of white non-Latinos. They will also be of child-bearing age soon so that their number will double by 2050 if present trends continue.
“In 2012, Mitt Romney narrowly lost Florida, costing him 29 electoral votes. Seven other states with sizable Hispanic populations also saw razor-thin victories.”
Jeb Bush is married to Columba Garnica Gallo who has an excellent chance of becoming the First Lady who was born and raised in Mexico. Jeb gave part of his announcement speech as a 2016 presidential candidate in fluent Spanish. The Spanish-language media is already referring to Bush as the “Latino” 2016 candidate. He has an “intense interest in turning out the Latino vote.”
“Don’t bet on Jeb not to make it through the Republican gauntlet of 12 candidates (so far). After all, the really big money’s behind him. Last December, even though out of public office since 2007, he had captured the support of 73 percent of the Wall Street Journal’s ‘richest CEOs.’ … No other GOP candidate has Jeb’s kind of legacy political-financial power. Period.”
In June, Bush backed his Church’s years-long campaign against Obamacare with “more than 300 lawsuits” – at incredible cost to the taxpayer – against the requirement that religious groups allow their insurers to offer free contraception coverage to employees. (Houses of worship are exempt.) Jeb referred to “the shabby treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor [one of the litigants], a Christian charity that dared to voice objections of conscience to Obamacare. The next president needs to make it clear that great charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor need no federal instruction in doing the right thing. It comes down to a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother, and I’m going with the Sisters.” The nuns lost their court case July 14.
Many of his priorities during his two terms as governor of Florida aligned with those of the Catholic Church, including his extraordinary, and unsuccessful, effort to force a hospital to keep Terri Schiavo on life support – as well as less well known, and also unsuccessful, efforts to appoint a guardian for the fetus of a developmentally disabled rape victim, and to prevent a 13-year-old girl from having an abortion. He even, during his first year in office, in 1999, signed a law creating a “Choose Life” license plate. …
Like his brother George W. Bush, who established the White House office on faith-based initiatives [as the quid pro quo to Christian leaders who helped elect him and who would then take credit for spending billions of taxpayer dollars as “their” charity.] Jeb Bush was a champion of religion-based social services. …
He carries a rosary in his pocket, fingering its beads at moments of crisis, is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and has retweeted Pope Francis. …
Last year, he visited New York to help raise money for Catholic schools, attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and won plaudits from [the prelate of Wall Street] Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan. … “I like Jeb Bush a lot,” Dolan said in the television appearance. “I especially appreciate the priority he gives to education and immigration.” …
“As a public leader, one’s faith should guide you,” Bush said in Italy in 2009, explaining his attitude about the relationship between religion and politics at a conference associated with Communion and Liberation, a conservative Catholic lay movement.
Pope Francis’ “allegiance is not to the principles of justice enunciated by Second Vatican Council (or of freedom of conscience or of empowerment of laity or of national bishops’ conferences independence, etc.) but to Communion and Liberation. … CL is a neo-fascist movement supported strongly by the past two popes. CL is all about obedience, all about hierarchy, all about centralizing power in the pope, all about pronouncing on ‘sins of the flesh’ (i.e. homosexuals, birth control, abortion, women sans rights). CL is much like Opus Dei though less secretive and Italian based rather than Spanish based – very powerful and very rich and in fact larger and more influential today than Opus Dei (though not as embedded in the American media or supreme court or CIA and FBI),” wrote Matthew Fox, author of thirty-two books on spirituality and culture. (In my opinion no Catholic organization is more influential than Opus Dei.)
Pope Francis has “strong ties” to Communion and Liberation. CL is about “the authority of the Church” and “returning the Roman Catholic Church to its traditional role of political power,” quoted Jamie Manson, a theologian and award-winning columnist.
Bergoglio and Bush also share the same motivation for their rhetorical style. After they lost in 2012, the Republican National Committee wrote the “Growth and Opportunity Project” or “autopsy report” as it’s sometimes referred to. The document included market research from voter focus groups who described the Party as “stuffy old men” who were “scary,” “’narrow minded,” and “’out of touch” – also apt descriptions of the pre-Francis Church.
“The perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party,’ deadpans the report. … ‘Drop the divisive social policy stuff, stop offending people, and, instead, talk to them like human beings with their own hopes, dreams and fears. You know, give this ‘empathy’ stuff a try” – also apt descriptions of this pontificate.
RNC Chair Reince Priebus said that the party did a “lousy job” of marketing itself. And no organization has ever done better PR work than the current Vatican. There has been a worldwide change in attitude – a “growth of trust” – in the Church since the election of Pope Francis. In an interview several months into Francis’ reign, Cardinal Dolan was asked if this pontiff “has turned out the way you expected.” “If there’s a surprise, it’s that he’s even better at it than we had anticipated,” said Dolan inadvertently suggesting that “we” had vetted and elected Bergoglio. Francis has boosted the “reputation and credibility” of the Church, Dolan said, “making it easier for bishops to move the ball on many fronts.”
Jeb Bush was also paying attention to the “autopsy report.”
January: Bush “lamented that while the last eight years have been pretty good ones for top-earners, they’ve been a lost decade for the rest of America.”
February: Bush “put the plight of the poor at the center of his candidacy.”
April: He said he preferred a “consensus-oriented approach” to Indiana’s new religious freedom law legalizing discrimination against gays.
May: “He made economic opportunity the centerpiece of his message.” Bush “railed against ‘elites’ who have stifled economic growth and innovation.”
In an April interview, Jeb noted the “obvious” change in the Church is the “tone and emphasis” brought about by Pope Francis. Bush conceded that, while the pope might be a “real disappointment” for people who expected “big changes,” the pontiff’s “attitude” could “help Catholics in public life.” “I think about … how I can improve how I express my views,” he said. “Pope Francis’s lesson may just be, Bush suggests, ‘Where you say it, how you say it, is important,’” because “in the case of Francis the media, in search of sound bites, may have glossed over some of the pope’s more inconvenient underlying beliefs.”
No doubt, Bush will ramp up his “populist” image after he becomes the GOP presidential nominee.
Pope Francis: as right wing as his predecessors
The media, by misreporting Bergoglio’s past and omitting background information on the men he appoints and promotes, would lead us to believe that this pope wouldn’t be as anxious to have a Republican president as his two predecessors. Not true.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was promoted up the ecclesial career-ladder by Pope John Paul II because he was also an opponent of Liberation theology, considered “Marxist” by its adversaries because it encouraged the eradication of the causes of poverty rather than just giving handouts to the poor. (See here, here, here, here, here and here.)
In addition, Bergoglio had a good relationship with the Argentine military junta. (Mignone, Church and Dictatorship: The Role of the Church in Light of Its Relations with the Military) which also made him an attractive candidate for the hierarchy. Cardinal Angelo Sodano was Vatican ambassador to, and supporter of, Chilean military dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet during the same period (1977 – 1988). So he would have been familiar with clerics with the “right” credentials in neighboring Argentina. Sodano left Chile to become Pope John Paul II’s Secretary of State. He vetted the men who would become prelates in Latin America. In 1992, Bergoglio was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires and eventually cardinal primate in February 2001.
Politically, Bergoglio acted pretty much the same as his American confreres. In 2010, when Argentina was considering a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, the cardinal “said that the legislation was a total rejection of God’s law and an effort by the father of lies [Satan] to confuse and deceive humanity.” When the Fernandez administration “pushed for mandatory sex education in schools, free distribution of contraceptives in public hospitals, and the right for transsexuals to change their official identities on demand,” Bergoglio accused the president of “demagoguery, totalitarianism, corruption and efforts to secure unlimited power” in a 2012 address.
Bergoglio’s “biography is that of a conservative populist … adamant on doctrinal issues but with an openness to the world, especially toward the dispossessed masses. … But at the same time he attempted to unify the opposition against the first government in many years which adopted a policy favorable to those groups,” according to Ernesto Semán, a historian at New York University.
The election of Cardinal Bergoglio was “a masterstroke of Vatican diplomacy. The Catholic Church, about to sink between the financial and sexual scandals, urgently needed another ‘image’ in the face of public opinion in the world and more so in Latin America,” explained Fr. José Nicolás Alessio, an Argentine theologian who was dismissed from the clerical state in February 2013 for favoring marriage equality. “In Argentina and on the continent, the right-wing sectors, both political and religious, will be strengthened,” Alessio stated.
“In Argentina, his naming as pope has been received with the warmest enthusiasm by the rightist opposition,” noted Andrea D’Atri, founder of Bread and Roses, an Argentine human rights group.
Pope Francis is using the poor as part of a discourse to strengthen the Catholic Church in Latin America according to Rubén Rufino Dri, a philosophy professor at the University of Buenos Aires and a former member of the Priests for the Third World. “He’s a great actor, trying to make us think this is a revolution. But he is not humble. He is simply leading the Vatican’s attempt to win back the streets in Latin America, where popular left-wing governments and Pentecostals here have taken power and followers away from the church.”
What Pope Francis means by charity is “paternalistic handouts that are equated with evangelization. To go out into the streets and give food to the poor and pray with prisoners is somewhat humanitarian, but it does not solve the problem of social exclusion that afflicts many of the world’s countries,” wrote Brazilian theologian, Ivone Gebara. “Nor does it solve the problem of governments which create poverty and injustice.” The cardinal/electors “are positioning their pieces in the world game of chess in order to empower political projects championed by the North and its allies in the South,” warned Gebara.
“[T]here needs to be profound change within the structures of the Church … It remains full of cardinals and bishops who were named by John Paul II and were sympathetic to his political fight [against communism] but who are pretty reticent when it comes to the rights of children, women or minorities,” said Jose Andres Murillo, founder of Chilean group Para la Confianza (For Trust) which helps victims of pedophile priests.
A month after he became pope, Bergoglio named the members of his Council of Cardinals (“C9”) who have advised him on how to govern his Church. (the citations for the following section are here.
Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the C9, has become the pope’s right-hand man, “some might say vice pope.” Rodríguez Maradiaga is “the leader of Opus Dei” in Honduras which “participated actively in the 2009 coup against the constitutional [and progressive] president, Manuel Zelaya.” “Active members of this clan are making intromissions in Honduran national politics.” Today, Honduras now has the highest homicide rate in the world fueled by the drug trade and government corruption.
In addition to being a C9 member, the pope appointed Australian Cardinal George Pell as head of the new Secretariat of the Economy. With “authority over all economic and administrative activities within the Holy See and the Vatican City State,” this makes Pell the de facto manager of the entire Roman Curia since he holds the purse strings.
After becoming an archbishop, Pell invited Opus Dei to establish themselves in Melbourne and then Sydney. Under Pell’s patronage, “Opus Dei’s star is on the rise, it is said, and that of others – including other more established groups within the Church – is sinking,” Sydney Morning Herald’s religious affairs columnist wrote in January 2002. This reporter saw “signs of a new elitism….a clerical culture is being encouraged in which there is a highly select ‘in’ crowd around Pell.”
Pell has maintained a close relationship with Australia’s conservative PM, Tony Abbott, and his party for decades. Days before Pope Francis appointed Pell to his C9, the cardinal attended a “Gala Dinner” celebrating the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) an “ultraconservative think tank.” Rupert Murdoch was guest of honor and Abbott the keynote speaker. Pell’s appointment as financial “tsar” prompted this tweet from Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch): “Pope Francis appoints brilliant Cardinal Pell from Sydney to be no. 3 power in Vatican. Australia will miss him but world will benefit.” (No. 2 is head of the C9, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga)
The Council for the Economy will be coordinated by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, another member of the C9. Marx was the invited speaker for 300 guests of Opus Dei at a meeting held in the Deutsche Bank. He has presided at Masses celebrating Opus Dei’s founder, Josemaria Escrivá, and visits the Opus Dei center for university students in Munich. “The Work,” as Opus Dei members refer to their organization, is said to be very powerful in Germany’s financial capital of Frankfurt. Der Speigel observed that “There is hardly a German bishop who does not regard the organization with favor.”
Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the only American on the C9, is a faithful supporter of Opus Dei and has sponsored the canonization of the priest who “established an Opus Dei presence among students and professors at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology” between 1946 and 1956. Metropolitan Boston has more than eighty colleges and universities attracting thousands of students from around the world. Like Cardinal Marx, O’Malley celebrates special Masses commemorating Escrivá and visits the Opus Dei (male only) center at Harvard. O’Malley was silent when Romneycare covered abortions but led the U.S. episcopate in opposition to Obamacare’s coverage of contraception.
When Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998, on orders of a magistrate judge in Madrid investigating atrocities against Spanish citizens during the Chilean dictatorship, C9 member Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz denounced the judge. He later criticized human rights lawsuits in Chile against Pinochet saying, “Excessive justice could be detrimental to reconciliation and social peace.” Errazuriz also “linked Chile’s economic success with reforms carried out during former Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973 -1990).
“The old Curia of John Paul II, led by the powerful Cardinal Angelo Sodano, became influential once again” with the election of Bergoglio. He chose Sodano protégé Pietro Parolin as his Secretary of State and C9 member.
Pope Francis has not appointed or promoted any prelate or member of his curia who could be described as leftist, progressive or liberal. Other than President Obama, no American Democrat has ever been granted a private audience with the pope.
Pope Francis hires the same vulture capitalists he rails against
(The citations for the following section are here.)
Within months, the new pope began hiring the same U.S. companies used by plutocrats to evade regulations and cheat consumers. “At one stage, an Italian writer jokingly suggested relocating the Vatican from Rome to New York to save all those doyens of profit the commute.”
On June 13, 2013, the pontiff selected McKinsey & Co. “to design that reform of the curia which everyone expects from Pope Francis.” “One of the market-leading ‘Big Three’ management consulting services to the Fortune 500 set, along with Bain & Company and The Boston Consulting Group,” in 2011, McKinsey used “questionable methodology and cherry-picked information” on a survey regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The results became “a useful tool for critics.” “Before its collapse, Enron was one of the firm’s biggest clients. McKinsey senior executives were among others convicted for insider trading. McKinsey & Co. has also provided the rationale used as “cover” for CEOs to justify layoffs and increasing their own pay.
Promontory Financial Group was hired by the pope at a cost “well above seven digits.” The hiring of Promontory by the Vatican “represented a triumph of the American on the [layman’s] board of the IOR [Vatican Bank], Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus” – who have “invested millions” in the Catholic Church’s war against women and gays – and the “American consortium led by Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells,” all Republicans. “Behind the moves of Promontory are not only the U.S. clergy who made a decisive contribution to Bergoglio’s election, but also some foreign financiers,” reported l’Espresso.
In the U.S., “Promontory’s activities focus heavily on the adept circumvention of regulations. … At a U.S. Federal Reserve foreclosure review meant to provide compensation to abused homeowners, whistleblowers from Bank of America came forward to provide compelling evidence that the bank and its independent consultant, Promontory Financial Group, attempted to suppress evidence that borrowers had been harmed by the false and deceptive practices of the mortgages lenders.”
In another advisory capacity, Promontory stated “’well over 99.9 percent’ of the loans issued by Standard Chartered bank complied with the law and only $14 million of them were illegal. Then the bank admitted that $250 billion of its deals, not $14 million, were illegal. That’s 17,000 times as much illegality as Promontory found in its ‘review.’”
When the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) asked banks to review their foreclosures, “Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and PNC picked Promontory to do the work for them….Nearly a year and a half into the process, the reviews, which cost banks a whopping $10,000 or more per loan file, had produced no relief payments to borrowers….Promontory and the other consultants involved in the program had received a combined $2 billion in misspent cash.”
Promontory employees were appointed as IOR officials: Rolando Marranci as acting Deputy Director; Antonio Montaresi in the newly created position as acting Chief Risk Officer with the remit of overseeing compliance and special projects; Elizabeth McCaul and Raffaele Cosimo, as Senior Advisers.
The pope also hired accountants Ernst & Young and KPMG. Ernst & Young “has agreed to pay $99 million to former Lehman Brothers investors who have accused the auditor of helping Lehman misstate its financial records before the investment bank’s collapse triggered a financial crisis in 2008.”
“KPMG Facilitated the Financial Fiasco” – “Pioneers of mortgage debt securitization from Morgan Stanley and Black Rock set the stage for the financial crisis that severely disrupted the global economy. While these players and poor government policies have received much attention in recent years, auditors, such as KPMG International, enabled the crisis to metastasize at an accelerated rate. KPMG was the auditor for the key players in the mortgage crisis, including Fannie Mae, Countrywide Financial and New Century Mortgage.”
Some might think that this type of professional expertise is necessary to manage a $10 billion treasury. But when the phrase “cleaning up” is endlessly repeated to describe this pope’s actions, forensic accountants working for Interpol or the FBI or one of the regulatory agencies could have been hired to actually sanitize the Augean Stables of Vatican money. Additionally, while the pope has exhorted others on numerous occasions to give more to charity, no one with expertise in large international charities, NGOs or non-profits has been hired.
The Vatican also maintains financial institutions in the Cayman and Turks and Caicos islands, both havens for off-shore tax shelters and other dubious activities. It was reported that the pope’s Cayman facility has clients which “include German arms dealers and criminal elements.”
After Francis’ election, Banco Santander offered to make itself available “at the Vatican’s disposition.” The bank is also a Vatican consultant. Banco Santander is Opus Dei’s flagship financial institution. It is “a colossus with 10,000 branches which prides itself on having the most’ branches than any other bank in the world” and is “present mainly in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, those territories inhabited by tens of millions of Catholics.”
December 9, 2011: “Huge Eurobank, rated ‘Britain’s worst,’ now accused of gouging U.S. consumers.” “The defendant in a flurry of lawsuits is Europe’s largest bank, Banco Santander S.A., which is preparing to make a big push into U.S. retail banking.”
November 14, 2014: “The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs announced that it had issued subpoenas to two subsidiaries of the Spanish lender Banco Santander, which together represent one of the country’s largest originators of auto loans….The subprime auto lending industry is facing increased regulatory scrutiny. Critics say the industry takes advantage of vulnerable borrowers, who often have to pay steep rates for the loans.”
La Stampa reported that Deutsche Bank became the IOR’s “main partner” after an inquiry by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rome for breaking anti-money laundering laws, and that the IOR “now works almost exclusively with Deutsche Bank.” Recall that it was the Italian branch of Deutsche Bank, the only foreign bank operating inside the Vatican City State, which was shut down by the Bank of Italy on January 1, 2013, cutting off tourists’ access to ATM machines and the use of their debit and credit cards.
“Deutsche Bank was one of the major drivers of the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market during the housing credit bubble from 2004–2008, creating….The 2011 US Senate Permanent Select Committee on Investigations report on Wall Street and the Financial Crisis analyzed Deutsche Bank as a ‘case study’ of investment banking involvement in the mortgage bubble, CDO market, credit crunch, and recession.”
April 23, 2015: “Deutsche Bank has been fined $2.5bn (£1.66bn) by US and UK regulators for trying to manipulate interest rates. The German bank has been fined $2.1bn by US regulators, and £227m by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority….It is a record penalty for such misconduct because Deutsche tried to mislead regulators and could have hampered investigators.”
Frenchman, Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, former CEO of Invesco’s European operations, was named president of the IOR. De Franssu’s son, Louis-Victor Douville de Franssu, is now working for Promontory but previously as an intern in the government-affairs division of Goldman Sachs in London. Goldman Sachs is termed the “Vampire Squid” by Rolling Stone for “buying up [heavy industry] and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever.”
Cardinal Dolan, recently appeared on the Goldman Sachs You Tube channel along with Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman CEO Goldman Sachs.
The following have been appointed members to the layman’s board of the IOR:
Mauricio Larrain is external director of Santander Bank Group Chile and general director of Opus Dei’s ESE Business School at Los Andes University of Chile.
Mary Ann Glendon is the Catholic theocons’ token female and member of the board of too many right-wing organizations to mention; also Bush 43’s ambassador to the Holy See. Glendon described Bush’s invasion of Iraq as a “humanitarian intervention. Of course, that wasn’t the precise issue.”
Clemens Boersig, ex-chairman of Deutsche Bank, along with four other bank executives were ordered in March 2015 to stand trial on fraud charges in Germany.
Sir Michael Hintze, former Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse executive, is an Australian-born hedge fund billionaire. He’s also a major Tory party donor.
Maltese Joseph F. X. Zahra is vice-coordinator of the Council for the Economy. Zahra is currently chairman of Middlesea Insurance Co Ltd. MAPFRE, “the leading insurance company in Spain and the largest non-life insurance company in Latin America” owns a controlling interest in Middlesea. MAPFRE is referred to in the insurance market as a branch of Opus Dei.
George Yeo, former finance minister of Singapore and a Brigadier-General in the Singapore Armed Forces is a member of the Council of the Economy. He is on the advisory board of Harvard Business School and Opus Dei’s most important graduate business school, IESE.
Msgr. Brian E. Ferme, who holds a doctorate from Oxford, was appointed prelate secretary of the Council for the Economy. His background includes overseeing the financial management of the now-closed Marcianum, a center of international studies whose “faculty was assimilated to the Pontifical Holy Cross University, based in Rome and owned by Opus Dei.”
Peter Sutherland was appointed by Pope Francis as an adviser to APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See) which manages the Vatican’s investment and real estate portfolios. Sutherland is managing director and chairman of Goldman Sachs International, advisory director of Goldman Sachs Group, former chairman of BP Oil and European chairman of the Trilateral Commission. He is also on the advisory board of IESE. Sutherland is also former chairman of AIB (Allied Irish Banks). AIB loans of up to $500 million were extended to four American dioceses in 2005-07 which had claimed bankruptcy due to clerical sex abuse claims. According to the Irish Daily Mail in 2011, the loans are being repaid “from an unknown source.”
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