Like most of the other biggest organisation, the holy organisation of Vatican City has been involved in its fair share of controversies. From having numerous sexual affairs to child abuse to sexual abuse to gay rings, from mafia links to its bank scandals, Vatican City, the smallest country hugged by has been linked to numerous scandals. Today, we are revisiting 10 of the most scandalous moments of Vatican City. Here are the 10 Shocking Vatican City Scandals that you probably forgot about.
10 Shocking Vatican City Scandals
1. The Affairs of John XII:
John XII became pope at the age of just 18 years. But he soon became widely known for his scandalous personal life. Several charges were brought against him including that he invoked demons, murdered and mutilated men and gambled and had numerous affairs with married women. He died of a stroke in 964 while allegedly in bed with one of his mistresses.
2. Sixtus IV’s Reign And Alleged Incest:
Sixtus IV was one of the most controversial popes in history. The man reportedly had six illegitimate children and among them, one was the result of an affair with his sister in the 1470s. Sixtus IV reportedly made money by taxing church prostitutes and making priests pay to keep mistresses. He is also known for establishing Sistine Chapel.
3. The Gay Sex Ring Scandal:
In 2010, one of the biggest scandals rocked the Vatican City and the reign of Pope Benedict XVI. His aide, Angelo Balducci and Ghinedu Thomas Ehiem, a Vatican chorister, were sacked for their involvement in corruption and running a gay prostitution ring. Balducci was a member of an elite group which serves the Vatican named “Gentlemen of His Holiness.” They were caught when the police eavesdropped in on a telephone conversation between Balducci and Ehiem. La Repubblica revealed the detailed conversation on newspaper. Ehiem reportedly found ten men for Balducci, including a male model and a rugby player.
When the VatiLeaks scandal was being investigated, it was revealed that there is a “gay conclave,” which is a group of senior clergymen. They engage in sexual activities with male prostitutes at organized parties. There are even hints blackmailing involving outsiders. These issues have been linked to Pope Benedict’s resignation.
4. Money Scandals:
Vatican’s major troubles began with the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano in the ’80s. But on 19th June 1982, Roberto Calvi’s dead body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London. Dubbed as ‘God’s Banker’, Roberto was the Chairman of Milan’s Banco Ambrosiano in which the Vatican was the main shareholder. He was found guilty of illegally exporting billions of lire. He was murdered in London, where he fled off.
This wasn’t the only scandal though, from taking unsecured loans to mysterious Panamanian shell companies to laundering money for several Italian gangs. In the ’90s, a group of Holocaust survivors filed a case against the Vatican Bank of collaborating with Croatian fascists to conceal the proceeds of looting during the Second World War. In 2013, a senior Catholic cleric named Nunzio Scarano was arrested along with a former spy and a financier and accused of plotting to smuggle €20 million into Italy on a private jet.
Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s right-hand man, butler, made a name for himself when he leaked confidential Vatican documents to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. He leaked tales of corruption and infighting. They were published by Nuzzi and the butler was tried for theft. He butler secretly copied the documents using a photocopier shared by two other papal secretaries. Nuzzi’s book Your Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI thoroughly describes the corruption, gossip, and power struggles inside the Vatican. The first VatiLeaks happened in 1869. Then the details of meetings held by Pope Pius IX involving rationalism, liberalism and materialism were published by a German newspaper.
6. Sexual Assault:
The most recent case of sexual assault was against Australian Cardinal George Pell. He was in charge of the Vatican’s finances. Reportedly, there are several charges of historical sexual assault coming from multiple complainants against Pell. Every time Pell was called to testify, he ended up giving video testimonies, citing his inability to travel for health reasons. The church has been accused of protecting the abuser than helping the victim. This is just one case of sexual assault of many involving the church. There was a priest who was arrested for being a pedophile and after claiming a gay prostitution ring and rent boys existed within the Catholic Church.
7. Child Abuse Scandals:
There have been many claims throughout the course of history that the holy church has been covering child abuse for decades. Allegations surfaced of child abuse surfaced in the Regensburger Domspatzen, a Roman Catholic choir schools in Germany in 2010. The Domspatzen was run by Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Pope Benedict XVI, for three decades. And the original accusation was made by a man in the 1960s. A report claim about 550 pupils were physically or sexually abused at the hands of their teachers. A Latin document from 1962 with the seal of Pope John XXIII talks about a policy of strict secrecy in dealing with claims of sexual abuse. It recommends encouraging victims to take an oath of silence.
8. Baby Theft:
According to an investigation, nuns, priests, doctors, and nurses have been involved in stealing about 300,000 Spanish babies. Many Spanish hospitals, run by the church, told mothers that their children died. When the mother insisted, they showed an infant’s corpse. Those babies were sold to childless couples for large sums and this has been going on for five decades.
9. Mafia Links:
The church has been accused of covering up or even denying the existence of mafias in Italy. It has been linked to the Sicilian Mafia to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta and Campanian Camorra. There is a history between the church, the mafias and the Italian rulers. However, Pope John Paul II’s denunciation of the Mafia in 1993 wasn’t received well by the mafia. Pope Francis has also spoken about the damnation of the mafia and has met with anger from certain quarters.
10. Connection To The Nazis:
Many people made the accusation of helping high-ranking Nazis escape justice at the end of the Second World War against the church. Alois Hudal was a bishop who openly shared his pro-Nazi views and is believed to have helped dozens of senior Nazis flee. There is even a telegram between Hudal and Hitler. Krunoslav Draganovic, a Croatian priest, has been also been accused of helping the Nazis to escape.