By David Kerr
The Vatican Bank’s president was dismissed for failing to carry out “basic duties,” giving people inaccurate information about the institution and “progressively erratic personal behavior,” according to board member Carl Anderson.
“What happened is source of great disappointment,” he told the Italian newspaper La Stampa on May 27. Anderson, who leads the international fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus, said the board “had come to have great expectations for this new management.”
Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was removed as president of the Vatican Bank May 24, following a no confidence vote by the other four board members. The 67-year-old Italian served as the head of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion, since 2009.
As committee secretary, it fell to Anderson to write an explanatory note to Gotti Tedeschi who, in the words of the memo, had “abandoned the premises of the Institute without notice and without waiting to receive notice as to the results of the no confidence vote.”
Anderson’s memo outlined the nine key reasons for Gotti Tedeschi’s removal, which included his “failure to carry out basic duties,” “abandoning and failing to attend meetings,” the “dissemination of inaccurate information regarding the Institute,” “polarizing the Institute and alienating personnel,” and “progressively erratic personal behavior.”
The bank boss was also accused of failing to provide an explanation “for the dissemination of documents last known to be in the President’s possession.” Anderson stressed, however, this charge was unrelated to the recent arrest of the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, on suspicion of stealing and leaking sensitive internal Vatican documents to the press.
“That the dismissal of the president should happen at the same time as the arrest of the pope’s butler is just a coincidence, nothing more,” Anderson told La Stampa.
“The board meets approximately every three months and the problem of the vote of confidence on Gotti Tedeschi was on the agenda for a long time.”
The sacking of Gotti Tedeschi comes only weeks before the Council of Europe is expected to decide on the Vatican’s bid to be placed on the organization’s “White List” of countries that adhere to the highest standards of financial transparency.
“Whoever thinks that current events at the IOR may be an obstacle in the effort to achieve transparency is terribly wrong, because we are acting in the very name of transparency and were not pressured by the Curia in any way,” Anderson said.
Gotti Tedeschi has yet to give his side of the story, claiming on May 25 that he was “torn between the anxiety to explain the truth and not wanting to disturb the Holy Father.”
The Vatican is now seeking a new candidate to succeed Gotti Tedeschi. In the interim, the presidency will be assumed by the bank’s vice president Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz.