The Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernadito Auza spoke twice this week at the UN about peace-building and peace-keeping. Here’s a link to the great website of the Holy See Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations: Take a trip there some day if you want to understand the Holy See mission and what the Catholic Church’s position is on a myriad of issues.

I expect that soon this Holy See office in New York and/or the press office here in Rome will be making a statement on today’s breakthrough meeting between the two leaders of North and South Korea at the demilitarized zone. This is the meeting for which Pope Francis, at last Wednesday’s general audience, asked for prayers

As I write this column – 4:35 pm local time – there is no Vatican statement on the meeting in Korea.


Join me this weekend on “Vatican Insider” for Part II of my conversation with Paulist Father Jim Lloyd. We had a great visit over the Easter holidays at the Paulist Motherhouse in NY where I was a guest for a few days. He had just turned 97 and on May 1st he will celebrate his 70th anniversary as a priest!!

The Paulists, of course, have been in Rome since 1922 when they were asked to care for the Catholic American community in the Eternal City. Our home now is St. Patrick’s Church on Via Boncompagni in central Rome.

Fr. Jim began our conversation by telling me about his amazing parents – his Jewish father and Irish Catholic mother, both of whom starred for years in Vaudeville! We cover his multi-faceted and very rich priestly life and ministries and this week talk about his NBC TV show “Inquiry” – and so much more! You will be riveted by every facet of his life! Not a dull second in our conversation!

As I said last week, I only wish that Vatican Insider was TV instead of radio so you could see Father Jim’s sparkling blue eyes and feel his enthusiasm and joy when he talks about the amazing, different periods in his life as a priest. One thing you will hear him says several times is that, no matter what he was doing, he always wore his Roman collar so people would know he was a priest.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. Outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: For VI archives:


The Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations spoke at two high level UN meetings in New York calling on them to increase peace-building efforts and to seek peace in Syria.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

The Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, addressed participants in the High-Level Meeting on Peace-building and Sustaining Peace at the United Nations headquarters in New York, which took place on April 24-25, 2018. Archbishop Auza presented five priorities on behalf of the Holy See. (photo vaticanmedia)

Increase peace-building efforts

The Archbishop stated that the United Nations “can and should recommit itself to, and scale up, its peace-building efforts.” Unified and broad action, effective transitional strategies, analysis, better and more coherent synergy, and constant adjustment were among his recommendations.

Preventive diplomacy

Identifying beforehand the presence of factors, such as corruption, that destabilize nations would lead toward preventive diplomacy. Where potential conflicts are foreseen, “the international community should focus on institutional and capacity building,” the archbishop said.

Address arms trafficking

Archbishop Auza called the end of both the trafficking of arms and the illicit funding behind it to be “essential elements to sustaining peace.” He added that former combatants can be invited to “become a part of a peaceful solution” through “demobilization and reintegration” strategies.

Involving all sectors of society

Lasting peace can only be attained when all sectors of society are involved. The Holy See representative specifically mentioned women, saying they “must play an active role” along the entire spectrum of conflict prevention and resolution.

Justice and accountability

Unless justice and accountability are “seriously addressed,” successful transition from conflict to peace is not attainable. “Justice and legal accountability are essential vectors of reconciliation, not its opposite,” Archbishop Auza said. In the absence of prosecution and punishment at the local level, he said that, “the International Criminal Court must play its full role.”

Conflicts in the Middle East

In a separate address to the Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East on April 26, Archbishop Auza addressed the ongoing conflicts in that region.

Archbishop Auza reiterated Pope Francis’ appeal to negotiation in Syria as the only way “that can bring about peace and not death and destruction.” It is the UN Security Council, he said, that is the “key actor” ensuring that all efforts to end the conflict in Syria are guided by international law.

He concurred with the Secretary General’s definition of the war in Yemen as a “stupid war,” calling it the world’s largest humanitarian, entirely man-made catastrophe. He called on the international community to “give much greater attention to this conflict, where civilians are paying a huge price in a senseless war that has been overshadowed by other conflicts in the region.”

Israel and Palestine
Calling for “a renewed commitment” for completely violence-free peace talks leading toward a Two-State solution, the archbishop reiterated the Holy See’s position. He stated that it is the only “viable way of fulfilling the aspirations for peaceful co-existence among Israelis and Palestinians alike.” Regarding Jerusalem, he stated that the Holy See sees it as an “obligation of all Nations to respect the historical status quo of the Holy City.”



At 11.00 this morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held for the presentation of the Annual Report of the Financial Information Authority (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria – AIF) of the Holy See and Vatican City State on the activity of supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism as well as prudential supervision.

Presenters included René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, respectively president and director of the AIF.

Here is the press release/annual Report furnished by AIF for the year 2017:

AIF press release | Annual Report 2017
Robust reporting system and effective regulatory framework

The Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) of the Holy See and the Vatican City State has presented its Annual Report for 2017. The report reviews the activities and statistics of AIF for the year 2017.

2017 confirmed robust reporting system and an effective application of the regulatory framework of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. Furthermore, AIF continued its pro-active approach to cooperate and exchange of information with its foreign counterparts to fight illicit financial activities.

“2017 has been a year of consolidation and normalization of our institutional activities”, said René Brülhart, President of AIF. “Consolidation of the measures taken to establish an effective regulatory framework and its full and sustainable implementation. Normalization of the reporting system, which is considered to be robust.”

The system has seen a progressive decline in the number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). In 2017, 150 Suspicious Activity Reports were filed with AIF in comparison to the previous year with 207 SARs. “Such tendency is positive because in parallel the quality of the reports increased, showing a growing awareness and strengthening of the control functions of the reporting subjects”, said Tommaso Di Ruzza, Director of AIF.

In 2017, 8 reports were submitted to the Vatican Office of the Promoter of Justice for further investigation by the competent law enforcement authorities. “Considering the uniqueness of the jurisdiction, international cooperation is a key element of the activity of AIF”, reported Di Ruzza, indicating that “In 2017, AIF signed 19 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with its counterparts in foreign jurisdictions and exchanged information in 268 cases”.

Furthermore, the regulatory framework has been further strengthened, in particular with the introduction of Regulation no. 2, which sets the rules in regard of the data and information accompanying transfers of funds and the technical requirement for credit transfers and direct debits in Euro.

About AIF

The Financial Information Authority is the competent authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State for supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism as well as prudential supervision.

Established by Pope Benedict XVI with the Apostolic Letter in form of Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010, AIF carries out its institutional activities in accordance with its new Statute introduced by Pope Francis with a Motu Proprio of 15 November 2013 and Law No. XVIII of 8 October 2013.

AIF has signed MOUs with supervisory Authorities and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hungary, India, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan (Republic of China), United Kingdom and the United States of America.

AIF has been a member of the Egmont Group since 2013.