- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Ships in 1 to 3 days
The Vatican Exposed: Money, Murder, and the Mafiaby Paul L. Williams
"One of the more puzzling questions of the past century is how the Vatican came to be enmeshed in so much fraudulent financial activity....[W]hile the book pulls together the main strands of the story, it is based largely on secondary sources and is badly flawed....We will have to wait a little longer for the definitive account of the Vatican's compact with Mammon. And it has to be said that, for want of greater transparency and accountability, there is a serious risk that this murky tale will run and run." John Plender, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement review)
Synopses & Reviews
Over 50 billion dollars in securities. Gold reserves that exceed those of industrialized nations. Real estate holdings that equal the total area of many countries. Opulent palaces containing the world's greatest art treasures. These are some of the riches of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet in 1929 the Vatican was destitute. Pope Pius XI, living in a damaged, leaky, pigeon-infested Lateran Palace, could hear rats scurrying through the walls, and he worried about how he would pay for even basic repairs to unclog the overburdened sewer lines and update the antiquated heating system. How did the Church manage in less than seventy-five years such an incredible reversal of fortune? The story here told by Church historian Paul Williams is intriguing, shocking, and outrageous.
The turnaround began on February 11, 1929, with the signing of the Lateran Treaty between the Vatican and fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Through this deal Mussolini gained the support of the staunchly Catholic Italian populace, who at the time followed the lead of the Church. In return, the Church received, among other benefits, a payment of $90 million, sovereign status for the Vatican, tax-free property rights, and guaranteed salaries for all priests throughout the country from the Italian government. With the stroke of a pen the pope had solved the Vatican's budgetary woes practically overnight, yet he also put a great religious institution in league with some of the darkest forces of the 20th century.
Based on his years of experience as a consultant for the FBI, Williams produces explosive and never-before published evidence of the Church's morally questionable financial dealings with sinister organizations over seven decades through today. He examines the means by which the Vatican accrued enormous wealth during the Great Depression by investing in Mussolini's government, the connection between Nazi gold and the Vatican Bank, the vast range of Church holdings in the postwar boom period, Paul VI's appointment of Mafia chieftain Michele Sindona as the Vatican banker, a billion-dollar counterfeit stock fraud uncovered by Interpol and the FBI, the "Ambrosiano Affair" called the "greatest financial scandal of the 20th Century" by the New York Times, the mysterious death of John Paul I, profits from an international drug ring operating out of Gdansk, Poland, and revelations about current dealings.
For both Catholics and non-Catholics this troubling exposé of corruption in one of the most revered religious institutions in the world will serve as an urgent call for reform.
Book News Annotation:
Williams describes some of the Vatican's morally questionable financial dealings from the 1920s to the present. Coverage includes such topics as the signing of the 1929 Laertan Treaty with fascist leader Benito Mussolini, the connection between Nazi gold and the Vatican Bank, and the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I. Williams holds a doctorate in philosophy and a masters of divinity in church history from Drew University and is the author of several books on various topics in Catholicism. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 235-254) and index.
Produces explosive evidence of the Church's morally questionable financial dealings with sinister organizations over seven decades.
About the Author
Paul Williams holds a doctorate in philosophy and a masters of divinity in church history from Drew University and has taught religion and philosophy at the University of Scranton and Wilkes University. He is the author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Catholic Church But Were Afraid to Ask for Fear of Excommunication, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Lives of the Saints, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Crusades, and The Moral Philosophy of Peter Abelard, among other books and articles.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like