Today’s papal appointment (see below) may have very big repercussions on the Vatican’s financial dealings on all its forms – AIF (Financial Intelligence Authority), APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See), IOR (Institute for Religious Works, commonly called the Vatican bank) and other bodies.   Following news of the Gasperini appointment are two other items you might want to read for information on a big real estate investment deal in London that in many ways seems to have soured for the Vatican.

Our EWTN colleague Andrea Gagliarducci, in his traditional Monday post, has done a masterful job of presenting many aspects of the London deal and hopefully you can follow it all. Andrea posted his piece this morning. Just hours later the Holy See Press Office released a communiqué about the provisional release from arrest of one of the principals in the London deal.

As I have followed events linked to Vatican finances in recent months, I have had to smile, almost rejoice, at one important fact: All the efforts made by Cardinal George Pell when he was at the Vatican to try and clean up the finances and corruption and bad deals and hidden monies, etc, efforts that earned him many enemies in Vatican City and elsewhere, seem now to be bearing fruit. It seems that Pope Francis is actually embracing the Pell reforms and giving them new and powerful life.


On Monday, Pope Francis appointed Dr. Fabio Gasperini as secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA).

Dr. Fabio Gasperini was born in Rome on October 17, 1961. He is an auditor and chartered accountant, and has a degree in economics and commerce. He has more than 25 years of experience in consulting and auditing services at leading financial institutions: banks, insurance companies, asset management companies, securities brokerage firms and financial companies.

Gasperini is currently chairman of the Board of Directors of EY Advisor S.p.A.; member of the EMEIA Executive Advisory Service Committee and of AIIA (Italian Association of Internal Auditors); European Head of the Banking and Capital Market sector and Italian Head of Advisory Services for the financial sector.


Andrea Gagliarducci attempts to put some order and sense in the multifaceted financial dealings of the Vatican, in particular a London real estate deal that seems to offer more questions than answers. Here is a link to his “MondayVatican” post in which he says he writes about “the state of the art of the Holy See financial issues.” http://www.mondayvatican.com/vatican/pope-francis-the-open-questions-on-the-financial-scandal


From the Holy See Press Office June 15:  “The Office of the Vatican Promoter of Justice, at the outcome of the interrogation of Mr. Gianluigi Torzi as part of the investigation relating to the sale and purchase of the building on Sloane Avenue 60 in London, today granted provisional liberty to Torzi. As stated in the ordinance, signed by the Promotor of Justice, Prof. Gian Piero Milano, and his Deputy,Attorney Alessandro Diddi, the magistrates took note of what was deduced in an articulated memorandum delivered by Mr. Torzi as well as the numerous attached documents deemed useful for reconstructing the facts under investigation.”


Press release of the Holy See Press Office: 9:30 pm Friday, June 5, 2020: Today, the Office of the Promotor of Justice of the Vatican Tribunal, at the end of the interrogation of Mr. Gianluigi Torzi, who was assisted by his trusted lawyers, issued an arrest warrant against him. The provision, signed by the Promotor of Justice, Prof. Gian Piero Milano, and his Deputy, Avv. Alessandro Diddi, was issued in relation to the well-known events connected with the sale and purchase of the London property on Sloane Avenue, which involved a network of companies in which some Secretariat of State officials were present. The accused is charged with various incidents of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and self-laundering, crimes for which Vatican law provides for penalties of up to twelve years of imprisonment. At present Mr. Gianluigi Torzi is detained in special premises at the barracks of the Gendarmerie Corps.


This past weekend was one that millions will never forget. You might have been touring in London, or perhaps you live there and were celebrating a Saturday night out with friends or family. Maybe you were one of the tens of thousands of faithful in Rome about to attend Pope Francis’ Pentecost vigil at the Circus Maximus. Or, quite likely, you spent the evening at home in any one of millions of cities, towns and hamlets around the world.

Wherever you were on Saturday, June 3, you’ll never forget how your joy was interrupted by the news of the horrific, indescribable act of butchery in London, performed by madmen.

I was enjoying dinner with a priest friend from California and we did not have our phones out on the table as so often happens at mealtime today. When you constantly check your phone, you’re always up-to-date on emails, news, etc. Sometimes, however, you don’t want to be updated. You simply want to enjoy the moment, the meal and the friendship. We did use our phones to film the amazing opera singer I have featured lately, Antonio Nicolosi, but that was it.

It would only be later when I got home and turned on the television that I learned of London.

My first thought was, of course, for the victims (an imprecise number when I first tuned in) and then for my friends in London, especially Joanna Bogle (whom you know for her books and her witty, wonderful style on EWTN) and Fr. Christopher Pearson who became a friend almost the very day that the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was announced on January 1, 2011 (Joanna explains the Ordinariate, as I have done many times on these pages).

Both are key to the story that follows. Joanna wrote this for the National Catholic Register.

This photo is from Fr. Christopher’s blog – he was ordained a Catholic priest 6 years ago, yesterday, June 4, Pentecost Sunday. He is on far left.

And, Joanna, we are praying for London.


COMMENTARY: The centuries-old city is no stranger to violence, and it will survive this latest chapter with its spirit intact.

Joanna Bogle

On Saturday afternoon I was sitting in the parish room at the Church of the Most Precious Blood at London Bridge, working on a children’s project, while two fellow members of “LOGS,” our parish-based ladies’ group, were busy with the flower arrangements in the church for Pentecost.

We chatted briefly over cups of tea with Father Christopher Pearson, the parish priest, before separating again to go about our various duties. And then I made my way home through the warm, rather oppressive, evening.

Late that night, I was woken by the buzzing of my mobile phone. My sister, texting from New Zealand, was asking if I was all right. London Bridge was the center of a frenzied attack by an Islamic terrorist group — people lay dead and dying in the streets.

Today, news is instantly communicated worldwide, and by morning, we had details of the numbers of dead and wounded and a basic outline of the events, despite the inevitable confusion. And, among much else, Father Chris had texted and emailed to parishioners to announce that a police cordon meant that the 8:30am Mass had to be canceled, but he had hopes for the 11am sung Mass.

When I arrived, he was busy dispensing tea to relays of tired policemen. The two main Tube stations — London Bridge and Borough — were closed, streets were sealed off, and there was a general air of order restored after the night’s ghastly events, the aftermath still being tackled.

The police cordon was lifted so that people could get to the 11am Mass, though many couldn’t make it because of the transport difficulties, but the church was still fairly full. We have a new, and rather good, children’s choir, and they sang beautifully. The parish is part of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham — Anglicans who came into full communion with the Catholic Church a few years ago — and the children’s choir, plus a popular Sunday school, are among a number of thriving initiatives. There are many young families.

We had, of course, special “Bidding Prayers” at Mass and a minute’s silence for the victims of the night’s horror.

This corner of London, south of the river, is special for me: It has my cafés and pubs, the shop where I buy my newspapers and the supermarket where we are always hurrying for extra tea, milk, wine and snacks — whatever — for church events.

London Bridge with Tower Bridge in the background:

Flowers laid by the public on London Bridge. Aftermath of London terrorist attack, UK – 05 Jun 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)

Much of my social life happens here. My father’s office — and his father’s before him — was just off Southwark Street, with a fine view of St. Paul’s Cathedral across the Thames.

A bridge has crossed the Thames at this point since Roman times. The song London Bridge Is Falling Down relates to a Viking battle at the end of the 10th century, when the Saxons tore down the bridge to stop the invading Vikings from gaining the city. It was on Sept. 8, and the Saxons attributed their success in the battle to Our Lady, hence the reference to the “fair lady” in the last line of the song.

Oddly enough, I was just relating that story a few days ago to a group, including some visiting Americans, standing on the bridge and looking out across to London’s skyscrapers.

The pubs and restaurants that TV viewers across the world saw in the scenes of carnage on Saturday night are part of a vibrant social scene: On summer nights, the streets around the pubs are crowded with people enjoying a drink or settling down for a meal at the outdoor tables at the many restaurants.

This is The Borough, across the Thames from The City, the square mile around St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Borough was known for centuries as a rather lawless area — outside the city’s boundaries, a haunt of crime and, also, incidentally, known for its special character, a place where Catholics met and had Mass, away from the prying eyes of the authorities in the days when the Catholic faith was outlawed.

Today it’s a lively, rapidly changing area. Old pubs jostle with new cafés, wine bars and restaurants. New generations of immigrants have arrived — from Africa and the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s to Poles and Filipinos more recently.

The Borough Market now sells all sorts of specialist luxury foods. There are coffee shops galore. The old industries — brewing, as this was where the hops were brought from the Kent hop fields, and printing, because of the water from the Thames — are no more. But people live here who work in shops, in catering, in hospitals — Guy’s and St. Thomas’ are nearby — and in all the myriad things that make up London’s life.

It was here that the Islamic terrorists — with shouts of “This is for Allah!” — plunged into crowds, on the corner where London Bridge meets the Borough High Street. Their van crashed into several people, and the terrorists then rushed out to stab others in the face. More than 40 people were rushed to hospitals.

At the time of writing, seven people are confirmed dead, including a Canadian woman and a French woman. Some 20 people are still in the hospital, some with severe injuries.

The police had arrived swiftly, as did medical services. And even as panic and terror took hold, there was practical action, help and common sense. As the police sealed off the area, local hotels opened their doors to all who needed help. A family at church later told me how they and a crowd of other people had been given sandwiches and comfort — “and everything, even coloring books for the children” — as they waited for the all-clear so that they could get home.

London is centuries old, no stranger to violence, and a great city that will survive this latest chapter with its spirit intact. At Precious Blood parish, we aren’t about to abandon our cheery gatherings at a local pub after Mass or our big street processions honoring Mary in May and the Blessed Sacrament for Corpus Christi (just coming up next weekend) or our celebration barbeques for special events, or our carol singing at the local railway station at Christmas … or any of the other activities that are part of normal London parish life.

“Look — this area had eight months of the Blitz in World War II,” one parishioner at Precious Blood commented after Mass. “And there were the IRA bomb threats, too. This latest horror isn’t going to destroy London.” Which is certainly true, even while we mourn for the victims of this weekend’s attacks. And there has been an outpouring of kindness, goodwill, mutual help and neighborliness.

Father Chris praised the “courage, skill and professionalism of the police and the emergency services” and said that they united swiftly to establish order and reduce panic. “When I stood at my window for a final look before going to bed sometime after midnight, there was a sense of security,” he told me. “I felt safe. They really deserve our gratitude and thanks for that.”

Pray for London.


It is 6:30 pm, has been a long work day so and I’ve still quite a bit of my work ahead of me so today’s column will be dedicated to short takes of some of the day’s important and interesting news stories.

Pope Francis tweeted today: May the certainty of faith be the engine of our lives.

As I write, heads of State or government and the presidents of European Union institutions are gathering in Rome to mark the 60th anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome that laid the foundations for what today we call the European Union. Pope Francis will address the gathering Friday and his words will be carefully watched.

Today, the EU faces huge challenges including Brexit – Britain’s exit from the Union – high levels of unemployment in several countries, debt crises, the growth of populist movements and a backlash against welcoming immigrants and refugees. Rome is gearing up for the leaders but also for protesters and, in recent days, I have already seen some subtle – and not so subtle – security preparations, and I’m guessing these are being ramped up, given the terror attacks yesterday in London. By the way, Pope Francis did sent a message of prayerful solidarity after the attacks. You’ll see this in the short takes that follow.

Say a prayer that the next few days in Rome will feature peaceful gatherings. Pray also that the routines of those of us who live in areas where the heads of State and government will be gathering (i.e., Vatican City) won’t be dramatically affected by the security measures, changes in bus routes, closures of some streets or squares, etc.


POPE FRANCIS SENT A TELEGRAM OF CONDOLENCES to Cardinal Vincent Nichols (in photo), archbishop of Westminster, expressing his sorrow for the victims of the terror attack at the House of Parliament in London on Wednesday. Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent the telegram in the Pope’s name:  “Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and of the injuries caused by the attack in central London, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his prayerful solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy.  Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes divine strength and peace upon their grieving families, and he assures the nation of his prayers at this time.”

THE HOLY FATHER RECOGNIZED A MIRACLE attributed to the intercession of two Fatima children – Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto – during an audience on Thursday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints,. He also approved the canonizations of 30 Brazilian and 3 Mexican martyrs. Francis will visit Fatima on May 12-13 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Mary to the three children in Fatima.

POPE FRANCIS WILL MEET WITH AND ADDRESS 27 European Union heads of State and government at a private audience in the Sala Regia Friday evening, the eve of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome that led to the formation of the European Common Market, the precursor of the EU, European Union. Also in attendance will be the presidents and other representatives of EU institutions.

NEWLY RESTORED CHAPEL AT JESUS’ TOMB UNVEILED IN JERUSALEM – An ecumenical re-dedication service took place in Jerusalem’s Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on Wednesday as restoration work on the chapel containing Jesus burial place was unveiled. Representatives of all the local Christian Churches gathered alongside special guests including Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the Orthodox world.  Pope Francis was represented by the Vatican’s representative to Israel and Palestine, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto.

To read Vatican Radio’s onsite report: http://www.news.va/en/news/newly-restored-chapel-at-jesus-tomb-unveiled-in-je