Pope Francis: Man in the middle spurs cause of change
Iacopo Scaramuzzi is a Vatican analyst. He studied journalism at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and for years has been following the day by day activities of the Catholic Church for Italian media. Here he talks about Pope Francis.
What has changed? How is it possible that Pope Francis is bringing about so much change in a such a short time?
The three main contributors to the Holy See are the US, the German and the Italian [Catholic] churches.
What has changed is that the money management issue has been put on the table of the last conclave. The Americans and Germans pay large amounts of money but what they have been seeing are many scandals, clashes with the Italian central bank and all of these involving mainly Italian cardinals and bishops.
Now there are basically no Italians left in the positions that count?
Exactly. The big donors that now want to have more weight are the starting point of what has followed after Bergoglio’s [Pope Francis] election, the de-Italianisation of the Roman curia.
Now all the top positions are held by non-Italians. At the helm of Ior [the Vatican bank at the centre of many financial scandals from the beginning of the 1970s] now there is French banker Jean-Baptiste de Franssu.
George Pell, who heads the Vatican’s new secretariat for the economy, is an Australian Cardinal.
While there are conspiracy rumours that Pope John the First’s fatal stroke in 1978 was caused by drinking a laced cup of coffee, how real are the public fears that Pope Francis is in danger today?
Francis’ problem is that he’s not just doing a restyling but he’s doing real things. If an authoritative anti-mafia prosecutor such as Nicola Gratteri says that Pope Francis is in danger, it’s because a certain amount of risk is real.
It seems that also Bergoglio’s friends have warned him against drinking coffee in the Vatican – but it could have been just a joke.