The Vatican: The Show Must Go On

The Open Tabernacle

October 7, 2021

By Betty Clermont

“The main mission of the Holy See is to help bring the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth,” a Vatican official recently claimed. But they dedicate far more time and resources to presenting a false façade of moral integrity to the world.


Pope Francis is adept at play-acting. “The pope knows and pretends not to know … In fact, every speech of the pope contains a hidden series of minor contradictions. As if the pope was pursuing a line, but did not want to be criticized for that line and was trying to avoid criticism by creating a narrative. The statements of the pope are not enough. We need to analyze the facts. And the facts say that Pope Francis, in some cases, says one thing and does another,” Italian Vatican reporter, Andrea Gagliaducci, observed

In response to the Oct. 5 release of a report finding that an estimated 330,000 children were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of some 3,000 French clergy and religious throughout the past 70 years, Pope Francis stated his “sadness and pain” to the victims for the trauma they have endured but also “my shame for the Church’s inability for too long to put them at the center of its concerns.” He encouraged bishops, religious, and religious superiors “to continue making every effort so that similar dramas are not repeated.”

Pope Francis closed remarks by expressing his closeness and support to the priests of France “in the face of this hard but healthy trail, and I invite French Catholics to assume their responsibility in guaranteeing that the Church is a safe home for all.”

Sadly, Pope Francis has never admitted his own responsibility in personally protecting sexual predators of children and setting such a tragic example to his “bishops, religious, and religious superiors” of contempt for the lives of our children.

Archbishop Josef Wesolowski

Wesolowski, the Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was accused of soliciting poor street boys for sex. Pope Francis was informed in July 2013. The pope found the information credible enough to dismiss Wesolowski on August 21 via confidential letter. The pope never reported Wesolowski to civil authorities. The allegations became public when a local TV program did an exposé on August 31, but the ambassador was already gone. “We learned from the children that Wesolowski took pictures of them while they were masturbating. Oral sex was performed,” said Nuria Piera, an investigative journalist in the Dominican Republic.

Wesolowski was finally arrested by the Vatican in September 2014 only after “there was a serious risk that the ambassador would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican authorities and then extradited,” reported the newspaper, Corriere della Sera. The archbishop had been found with more than 100,000 computer files of child pornography, a “key ingredient” in sex trafficking.

Wesolowski died mysteriously while he was under house arrest in the Vatican on the eve of his trial which would have publicized the above information.

Fr. Nicola Corradi

Former students at the Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Italy – where more than one hundred deaf and mute children had been sexually abused – “handed to Pope Francis” an open letter and video message in May 2014. They told him that one of the accused perpetrators, Fr. Nicola Corradi, held a current position at the Provolo Institute in Argentina. Tragically, the pope took no action to stop Corradi.

Corradi and four others were arrested in November 2016 and charged with raping and molesting at least 22 children. The crimes took place between 2004 and 2016.

Prosecutors said the anal and vaginal rapes, fondling and oral sex took place in various locations including the chapel. “One of the alleged victims said she witnessed how a girl was raped by one priest while the other one forced her to give him oral sex.”

“The tormentors knew the other children wouldn’t hear the screams as they were deaf.”

Corradi was convicted of sexual abuse and rape on Nov. 25, 2019. The trial was attended by “dozens of survivors and their supporters demanding transparency and justice for the ‘abominable crimes’ committed at the Institute.”

Bishop Accountability

Additionally, Pope Francis has taken none of the actions survivors, their advocates and dozens of government reports have stated for decades needed to be taken. He has not made it mandatory that his bishops report these crimes to civil authorities, that the Vatican and bishops make all their documents available to civil prosecutors or that his bishops who sexually assaulted children or who covered-up these crimes be held accountable.

“As of 9/10/2021, has identified 90 Catholic bishops worldwide accused publicly of sexual crimes against children … Despite the extensive harm done by abusive Church leaders, few have been severely disciplined. Only seven have been laicized. All of the remaining bishops [named on the website], even those found guilty under canon law, have been allowed to retain the title of bishop and to be called emeritus, a status that confers continued prestige and power. [Like any prelate who is asked to resign or retires] though relieved of administrative duties, he retains his membership in the college of bishops and continues to collaborate in the governance of the Church.”

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, reminded us in May that Pope Francis’ highly touted 2019 directive to the world’s bishops for handling the sexual torture of children, Vos Estis Lux Mundi, “kept the hierarchy in total control of the reporting and investigative process. He limited lay involvement to roles that are fragmented, powerless and almost certainly bound by confidentiality. He chose NOT to require notifying civil authorities, and he chose to omit transparency – Vos Estis includes no obligation to notify the public.”


In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI invited the Council of Europe’s MONEYVAL, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) measures, to conduct evaluations of Vatican financial entities.

Pope Benedict “didn’t have much choice. By 2011, any state that refuses to participate in such external reviews is likely to be viewed as a financial pariah, which could mean being frozen out of currency and investment markets or paying significantly higher transaction costs to cover the presumed risk,” veteran Vatican reporter John L. Allen Jr. noted.  

The latest MONEYVAL report was issued in June 2021 “providing a summary of the AML/CFT measures in place in the Holy See/Vatican City State as at the date of the on-site visit (30 September to 12 October 2020).” 

The committee members are not forensic accountants. As regards the Vatican, they rely solely on the information provided to them, dig no deeper, and issue a judgment based on this information.

The Council of Europe website announced, “MONEYVAL recognises [that] the jurisdiction’s authorities have a generally good high-level understanding of their AML/CFT threats and vulnerabilities.” The report did contain a few criticisms but so what? There are never any penalties for non-compliance with international standards.

The Vatican’s September 2016 ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption was dismissed as mere “window dressing” because it included “two reservations and three interpretative declarations. One of these reservations states that the Vatican reserves the right not to participate in any ‘appropriate mechanism or body to assist in the effective implementation of the Convention.’”

One of the Vatican authorities evaluated by MONEYVAL is the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority. This “watchdog” agency makes an annual report of their activities. The last report issued by the (Italian acronym) ASIF was in July 2021 for the 2020 fiscal year.

The cross-border transportation of cash

Cross-border transports of cash and bearer negotiable instruments in and out of the Vatican City State for amounts of 10,000 euro or more are supposed to be submitted to the Vatican gendarmes or the ASIF.

As stated in their report, “in 2020, there were 131 incoming declarations, for a total of €5,756,556 [$6.8 million] and 458 outgoing declarations, for a total of €8,406,477 [almost $10 million].” Unlike other nation’s regulations making the reporting of transactions over $10,000 mandatory, these “declarations” are voluntary and the names of the senders and receivers are secret.

The 2020 report also stated there is “the progressive decrease in the use of cash registered since 2015 … due to the availability of other systems of transfer of funds carried out by the Vatican Bank, ensuring a better standard of security and traceability.” [emphasis mine] The rest of the financial world relies on the “secure and traceable” electronic transfer of funds. Yet no one charged with Vatican “oversight,” or any other official, demonstrates any interest – at least publicly – in millions in cash moving in and out of the Vatican City State.

Who is moving all this cash in and out of the Vatican and why? How many more millions are unrecorded because the transactions were below 10,000 euros or were unreported because there is no penalty for failure to do so? Tourism – the Vatican museums and retail shops – probably accounts for some need for cash but how much is secret.

The MONETVAL report did address the subject of cross-border cash transactions beginning on page 246 of their 274-page report. The committee gave the ASIF and the gendarmes good ratings based solely on the regulations in place. 

And so, with the exception of a recent self-disclosure of some real estate holdings, the Vatican’s financial behemoth that manages stocks, bonds, currencies, gold bullion, etc. – APSA – and other departments continue to operate in total darkness.


There are few events outside of show business as well-staged as the pope’s public appearances. All are video recorded for internet availability.

Every papal mass at St. Peter’s is masterfully presented.Lighting and audio are perfect for superb TV broadcasting. The music, processions, vestments, etc.,  add to the pageantry of male-only clerics.

The priest in charge of the production of papal masses in St. Peter’s has the title of master of ceremonies.

Sunday “Angelus”

The pope appears from a window in the papal palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square on Sundays, gives a short speech, recites the Angelus prayer and ends with a blessing.

That the pope makes a scheduled public appearance must be of great importance because only a week after having a portion of his colon removed in a three-hour operation this past July, Pope Francis gave his “Angelus” appearance from a balcony at the Gemelli Hospital.

“The official versions spoke of an ‘acute diverticulitis’ and a ‘planned intervention.’ However, it is also true that initially, there was talk of five days of hospitalization, then of seven, and, in the end, Pope Francis remained hospitalized for ten days. [That is] cause for concern,” noted the Italian reporter, Andrea Gagliarducci.

Wednesday “General Audience”

On Wednesdays, when he is in Rome and weather permitting, the pope holds a “General Audience” in St. Peter’s Square. He gives a speech, is driven around the Square in the pope mobile and blesses religious articles people bring with them such as Rosary beads etc. There is a VIP section for preapproved tourists where the pope, on foot, gives personal greetings.

Exploro Tours sells tickets that include an “assistant bringing you to the official Vatican Gift store where you can purchase religious items to be blessed by the Holy Father. He will then walk you inside St. Peter’s Square, hand over your audience tickets to the Vatican guards and secure for you the best available seats in the VIP seating area.” 

Papal Trips

In an interview broadcast Sept. 1, Pope Francis said he planned to make several more trips in 2021 including Glasgow in early November to attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference. “It all depends on how I feel at the time,” he said. “Now Slovakia is on the program, then Cyprus, Greece, and Malta,” the pope added. He visited Hungary and Slovakia on Sept. 12 -15.

Vatican reporter John L. Allen Jr., however, characterized the papal trips to Cyprus, Greece and Malta as “rumors” in a Sept. 21 article for Allen is one of only a handful of American reporters with insider access to the Vatican. Perhaps Pope Francis’ health is still an issue?

An earlier article noted that the pope’s trip to Hungary and Slovakia was the 34th of his pontificate – 54 countries in all. No one has benefitted more than Pope Francis from these excursions because he always receives widespread media coverage.


The CIA World Factbook lists Vatican industries as “worldwide banking and financial activities” in addition to the “production of coins, medals, postage stamps; mosaics, staff uniforms.”

The men who control the Vatican’s “worldwide banking and financial activities” operate from an independent city/state unrestrained by any law or authority save their own. They decide who reigns as their front man, portrayed as “benevolent” and the “highest moral authority” by the U.S mainstream media, the most powerful and influential in the world. The media hype produced by a highly regarded pope deflects scrutiny of their activities. 

Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America.