In the New Testament, Jesus spoke on money more times than even love or the law. During his three year ministry on the earth, only the Kingdom of God was of greater importance to the Messiah, who would eventually become the center of a new global following.
This focus on money, and the evils that come from the love of it, appears now to be a point of interest to the new Catholic Pope who on Sept. 30, ordered fundamental changes to how the Vatican bank operates in the hopes of ending its long history as being a money launderer for international agencies.
The Vatican bank is likely to close all accounts held by foreign embassies, following concerns about large cash deposits and withdrawals by the missions of Iran, Iraq and Indonesia, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
The Vatican's financial watchdog, which examined the transactions in 2011, believed the embassies' justifications for the transactions were too vague or disproportionate to the amounts -- up to 500,000 euros at a time -- these people said. In one case, a large cash withdrawal was said to be for "refurbishment", one person added.
Now the bank and the watchdog want to reduce the possibility that the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), as the bank is called, could be an unwitting vehicle for money laundering and other illicit finances. - Reuters via trust.org
For several decades, the Vatican and the Roman church have been central to a number of financial scandals and crimes, some of which may have been the catalyst which led to the death of Pope John Paul I in the 1970's. The rumored investigation of the Vatican bank by the new Pontiff, also became a plot line in the movie, The Godfather Part III, where hundreds of millions of dollars in missing funds were about to be uncovered by the new administration.
In fact, the misuse of money by a Pope in office was the primary reason for the start of the Reformation Movement, and Martin Luther's decision to nail his 95 Theses on the door of the local church. When Pope Leo X was building himself a new palace in Rome during the 16th century, his project emptied the church coffers and nearly bankrupted the church. It was then that the Pontiff decreed a set of indulgences, which he sold to anyone willing to buy free salvation to help fund his palace.
Thesis 86, "Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money? - Encyclopedia Brittanica
The Vatican bank has a long history of intrigue and international agreements, some stemming from relationships with Hitler and Nazi Germany, the Italian Mafia, and even the great banking houses of Rothschild and central Europe. Thus Pope Francis's new initiative to clean out the 'money changers' from the Temple may be a welcome, but potentially hazardous endeavor, that will be seen as a positive to the 1.2 billion Catholics who are quickly taking a liking to this new reformist Pontiff.