Pope’s request for $25 million to corruption-plagued hospital makes major media
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews’ exclusive report on the multi-million-dollar Vatican financial scandal involving Pope Francis, the U.S.-based Papal Foundation and a Church-owned corruption-ridden hospital in Rome earned coverage by EWTN’s The World Over Thursday night.
Since LifeSiteNews broke the story on Tuesday, it has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the National Catholic Register, Britain’s Catholic Herald, and German bishops’ news website Katholisch.de.
On the World Over Thursday, host Raymond Arroyo said, “LifeSiteNews reports that it has obtained internal documents from the U.S.-based Papal Foundation showing that Pope Francis asked for and partially obtained a $25-million grant to a Church-owned and scandal-plagued hospital in Rome.”
“The unusually large sum raised red flags for members of the Foundation,” Arroyo said. “It normally issues grants of no more than $200,000.”
Arroyo detailed specifics that LifeSite revealed, including among other particulars that leaked documents regarding the scandal show that the pope’s original request was made through Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and fallout with lay donors to the Foundation.
“On January 6 the chairman of the Foundation’s audit committee resigned in protest of the grant,” the ETWN anchor told viewers, “so did two other members.”
Arroyo added, “The former chairman was uncomfortable with the grant being awarded to a facility with, quote, a history of mismanagement, criminal indictments and bankruptcy.”
Watch Raymond Arroyo discuss the story starting at 34:00:
Lay members of the Papal Foundation were upset by the grant to Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata (IDI), a dermatological hospital plagued with corruption and financial scandal for years. The grant’s handling by the Board of the Papal Foundation prompted some of the Foundation’s lay members to resign.
The U.S.-based Papal Foundation was founded during the Pope St. John Paul II papacy to assist those in need around the world through grants made via the Holy See.
Lay Stewards of the Papal Foundation pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.” That money is invested to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church.
U.S. bishops, including every U.S. cardinal living in America, comprise most of the Foundation board, which oversees the Foundation.
The Foundation normally gives grants of $200,000 or less to organizations in the developing world (a 2017 grantee list is available here).
Three leaked documents accompanied LifeSite’s breaking coverage of the scandal surrounding the Papal Foundation grant.
These were a “Papal Foundation Report to the Stewards” documenting the pope’s $25-million request; a letter from the Foundation Board of Trustees that discusses the disagreement among the Stewards (lay donors) of the Papal Foundation over the controversial grant, clarifies that the bishops and cardinals control the Papal Foundation and also reports specific actions that will be taken regarding the grant going forward; and a report from Audit Committee on the “disturbing” grant and the process by which it was made.
After pushback from the lay members of the Foundation, disbursement of the complete grant has apparently been paused, and the story continues to gain attention in social media and other outlets.
“We are told that the bishops refuse to answer questions about the Roman hospital,” Arroyo stated on the air Thursday evening. “A document dated January 8 quotes Cardinal Wuerl suggesting the grant was made, quote, “in the larger context of the Holy Father’s commitment to confront corruption and financial mismanagement both within the Vatican itself and in outside projects.”
Arroyo concluded his report, stating, “The hospital in question is accused of money laundering, and is in the hole to the tune of one billion dollars,” then pledging to viewers that The World Over would continue following the story.