Vatican Corner 04-08-18

VATICAN CORNER

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based Papal Foundation is a stellar charity which supports the Holy Father and the Catholic Church in its help of the poor that are mostly in developing countries throughout the world. Beginning in 1988, during the papacy of Pope St. John Paul II, the Foundation has grown to over $215 million and has given a total of $121 million in grants and scholarships. The foundation is governed by eight U.S. cardinals who approve seven bishops\ archbishops and nine laypeople as elected officials. Each of the donors to the Foundation pledge at least $100,000 a year for a total $1 million over 10 years. The monies are invested in order to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church with its grants to Third World institutions and organizations. Typically grants do not exceed $200,000. Leaked internal Vatican documents obtained by LifeSiteNews indicated that in June of 2017, Pope Francis requested a $25 million grant from the Foundation which would be over three years, and which would be more than 100 times larger than their typical grant. The grant was to go to the Church-owned dermatological hospital IDI in Rome. In all of Italy, that hospital is the most specialized facility for researching and treating skin diseases, and it may be one of the best in Europe. The hospital has a reputation for delivering high quality care and it along with two other Catholic hospitals owned by the same foundation treat more than 1,000 patients a day and employ nearly 1,500 specialists, researchers and hospital workers. However, in 2013 the financial police discovered a debt of over a billion dollars in the hospital’s accounts, and 40 people were placed under investigation for alleged money laundering, fraudulent bankruptcy and other crimes. The priest who was its chief executive through 2011 was arrested for allegedly stealing money from the hospital and running up a massive debt that lead to bankruptcy. In addition, a cardinal was suspected of diverting state funds for a children’s hospital to save the IDI Hospital. The Vatican soon took control but the hospital continues to struggle. It is said that the bad guys are now gone, but so are some of the notable doctors, morale is poor, there is inefficient administration and there are unpaid vendor bills of 24 million. It has been reported that the $25 million request by Pope Francis from the Papal Foundation was to fund the IDI Hospital’s operations and not pay down debt. But the request for the grant caused much controversy among the Papal Foundation leadership. Ultimately the vote was to approve the grant but no lay leader voted for it. The Chairman of the audit committee resigned and dissatisfaction with the decision continued. Critics went to the news media resulting in news coverage that questioned the integrity of the hospital and the wisdom of the foundation’s grant-making process. Because of this opposition, the Holy See has since declined half the grant money. The Papal Foundation has now said it is re-evaluating its mission, its approach to grant making, and its relationship with the Holy See. The Holy See has expressed “full support” for the review. In addition to declining half of the grant, it has postponed a papal audience until the review process is complete and until the Foundation’s members and donors agree upon the Foundation’s “mission”, governance structure and relationship to the Holy See. One Papal Foundation member said that the grant went “to an institution that is totally outside the realm of what we’re supposed to be doing.” But another Foundation member said “you can’t say this disagrees with the mission, it’s printed on the website – if you can show me how a grant to the Vatican violates the mission of the Papal Foundation, good luck.

“Sources: ewtnnews.com, foxnews.com, churchmilitant.com, lifesitenews.com, ncregister.com, thepapalfounda!on.org