Has Peter’s Pence been used to fund investments like the now infamous London property deal?


While the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the property are at the center of the ongoing trial in the Vatican courts, with charges of fraud and embezzlement against 10 people, the question of how Peter’s Pence was used requires a look behind the scenes.

Vatican finances have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, and Pope Francis has ordered the removal of accountability for the financial funds and property assets of the Secretariat of State.

The Vatican’s Prefect of Economy, Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, SJ, acknowledged “that people have the right to know how we spend the money given to us.”

But in 2014, before that papal decision and greater push for transparency, the Secretary of State was looking to invest in an oil project in Angola, then scrapped that plan, considering investing in London property instead. The ongoing Vatican lawsuit covers, among other concerns, the issue of borrowed money and loans surrounding this deal.

During the June 20 hearing last week, Fabrizio Tirabassi, a former Vatican official, explained during questioning that when he started working at the Secretariat of State, there was an Obolo Fund.

Obolo di San Pietro is Italian for Peter’s Pence.


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