The Vatican Exposed: Money, Murder, and the Mafia

Front Cover
Prometheus Books, 2003 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 264 pages
5 Reviews
Over 50 billion dollars in securities. Gold reserves that exceed those of industrialized nations. Real estate holdings that equal the total area of many countries. Opulent palaces containing the world's greatest art treasures. These are some of the riches of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet in 1929 the Vatican was destitute. Pope Pius XI, living in a damaged, leaky, pigeon-infested Lateran Palace, could hear rats scurrying through the walls, and he worried about how he would pay for even basic repairs to unclog the overburdened sewer lines and update the antiquated heating system. How did the Church manage in less than seventy-five years such an incredible reversal of fortune? The story here told by Church historian Paul L. Williams is intriguing, shocking, and outrageous.

The turnaround began on February 11, 1929, with the signing of the Lateran Treaty between the Vatican and fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Through this deal Mussolini gained the support of the staunchly Catholic Italian populace, who at the time followed the lead of the Church. In return, the Church received, among other benefits, a payment of $90 million, sovereign status for the Vatican, tax-free property rights, and guaranteed salaries for all priests throughout the country from the Italian government. With the stroke of a pen the pope had solved the Vatican's budgetary woes practically overnight, yet he also put a great religious institution in league with some of the darkest forces of the 20th century.

Based on his years of experience as a consultant for the FBI, Williams produces explosive and never-before published evidence of the Church's morally questionable financial dealings with sinister organizations over seven decades through today. He examines the means by which the Vatican accrued enormous wealth during the Great Depression by investing in Mussolini's government, the connection between Nazi gold and the Vatican Bank, the vast range of Church holdings in the postwar boom period, Paul VI's appointment of Mafia chieftain Michele Sindona as the Vatican banker, a billion-dollar counterfeit stock fraud uncovered by Interpol and the FBI, the "Ambrosiano Affair" called "the greatest financial scandal of the 20th Century" by the New York Times, the mysterious death of John Paul I, profits from an international drug ring operating out of Gdansk, Poland, and revelations about current dealings.

For both Catholics and non-Catholics this troubling expose of corruption in one of the most revered religious institutions in the world will serve as an urgent call for reform.

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Thirty-eight of the largest U.S. billionaires joined the initiative of the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet financial guru, to donate at least half of their fortunes, which together are around 230,000 million. The founder of CNN, Ted Turner, filmmaker George Lucas and the hotelier Barron Hilton, the list
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Thirty-eight of the largest U.S. billionaires have joined the initiative of the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet financial guru, to donate at least half of their fortunes, which together are around 230,000 million, officials said Wednesday the proposal.
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Among the tycoons who have accepted the challenge are the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, and the co-founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, and the media executive Barry Diller and CNN founder Ted Turner.
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The list also includes the likes of George Lucas, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, the hotelier Barron Hilton and David Rockefeller.
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Gates and Buffett, who Forbes magazine considered two of the world's richest men with a net set of 90,000 million dollars, last month launched the initiative "The Giving Pledge" ("The commitment to donate" to the to convince the country of billionaires who devote their wealth to philanthropy.
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"We just started and we've gotten a terrific response," Buffett said in a statement, owner and financial holding company Berkshire Hathaway known as the "Oracle of Omaha" for his ability to predict the performance of markets.
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In addition to asking for money, Gates and Buffet also asked who would accept his challenge exhibited in a letter the reasons why they decided to donate most of their wealth.
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Bloomberg, who made his fortune from the current financial information company that bears his name, said in his letter that philanthropy is the best investment in the future of new generations.
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"If you do something for your children and show them how much you love, the best thing you can do with difference is to support organizations that build a better world for them," he added.
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Lucas, father of the sagas of the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones," he said, meanwhile, that his interest as donor centers on the world of education.
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"It is the key to our survival as a species. We have to plan for our collective future, and the first step are social instruments, emotional and intellectual we provide to our children, "he said.
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The U.S. has around 400 fortunes in excess of one billion dollars, accounting for 40 percent of assets in this level that is in the world.
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If the millionaires who appear on the list of the 400 richest U.S. donate half of its net assets, could raise for charity and social over 600,000 million dollars, according to estimates by Fortune Magazine
 

Review: The Vatican Exposed: Money, Murder, and the Mafia

User Review  - Angie - Goodreads

Loved it - scary, Read full review

Contents

Introduction Rags to Riches
9
Chapter One The Donation of Mussolini
15
Chapter Two The Miracle of the Money
33

22 other sections not shown

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About the author (2003)

Paul L. Williams is a journalist and the author of The Day of Islam, Osama's Revenge, The Al Qaeda Connection, and The Vatican Exposed, among other books. The winner of three first-place Keystone Press Awards for journalism, he has written articles for such news outlets as Newsmax, World Net Daily, Family Security Matters, and the National Review. He has also served as a consultant for the FBI, editor and publisher of the Metro (Scranton, PA), and adjunct professor of humanities at the University of Scranton.

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