tv Interview with Gerald Posner CSPAN December 27, 2015 7:32pm-8:01pm EST
>> right now we want to introduce you to gerald posner, author of several books, his most recent is this one for, god spankers, history of money and power at the vatican. his published by simon & schuster. who is god spankers? who are? >> who are. they change every 20 years or so. the one person who runs the vatican bank is the pope. the only shareholder of the vatican bank. they hire laminar in the details of the internet's of money, but the person, the people responsible for the finances of the vatican are the same people who run the religion. >> how big is the vatican bank to allow, how much money does it hold and who has access?
>> sort of reverse order. who has access is a small group of people. by its charter was created in world war ii and is only been around for 70 years. the onlythe only people that are supposed to have access are citizens of vatican city , let's sores and catholic charities. in practice it has been manhandled and misuse for years. that aside, who hasaside, who has control over it, not only the pope was the only shareholder but in addition it is about the size of a small community bank in the us, seven to 10 billion a year. enough money when it is run in the dark without any oversight or transparency to cause plenty of problems. >> why was informed by world war ii? >> the us the key question. i will tell you a lot about the problems it has gotten into. in the middle of world war ii in order to avoid the
british and americans who are having a blacklist the subject of crunches from working with the enemy. they put on switzerland, every neutral country in europe except for one, the vatican con develops its own bank, went dark and continues to do business with the german and italian fascists through the war. they invested in both. >> what is the purpose? >> why do they need a bank? there is no purpose that cannot be served they dissolved. they didn't have a bank for the 1st 1930 years their existence. they formed one to circumvent the rules in world war ii, but now it is a matter of national pride.
have a permanent observer status. >> is there evidence of misuse? continues decade after decade. which the -- with-- with each successive pope coming in saying i'm going to clean up. in the 1960s it's misuse by a group of italian bankers, one of whom ends up dead. the other is a major businessman who ends up dead in jail. after that vatican paid a quarter billion dollars to banks for restitution, time prosecutor has been indicted
but everything ?-question-mark son to last years as the source of consternation. >> where does the money come from? >> from cash that is given for religious orders and then it is deposited into the bank who pays an interest rate back for the deposit, takes the deposit and uses it for very safe investment. it is one of the safest investors around. they own prime real estate in the heart of london, major shares of american top 100 companies in 1940s and that held them for years. they don't loan money. they are very safe on investment. some of the money comes from
sources that should not have an account like the money wanderers on the 1 percent of italians evading taxes. in the last three years they have closed about 3,500 of those accounts that should not exist. the bank basically is down to the core count. >> how does the catholic church otherwise bank if not through this? >> through correspondent banks. before the vatican bank existed they did not need a vatican bank because they did all of their thinking with the bank of italy and rome and chase manhattan and use the international banks. the problem with those banks , doing that as a country is the international banking investigators in the countries in which you are using the banks with his chase manhattan, bank of england, they can follow your money. when you transferring $5 million american investigation the treasury department can see where that is going. theythey wanted their own secrecy in terms of the
national bank and got it but it has created problems with him. >> what kind? >> the ones you would expect. this is the core issue. their well-intentioned and want to do the right thing as they see fit. ten to 20% did not. what i mean by i mean by that is they were not always personally taking money. it is not as though the bishops end up with a grand house on lake geneva. what they did is made money from illegal operations that they stashed into what i call their own accounts in case they could use them to gain power in the vatican. the perfect example, bishop paul marching kiss, american archbishop figure nothing
about finances. he ran for 18 years. the last of four to $6 million slush fund and used it will impose bulgarian help the pope destroy communism and down solidarity. the built the power for the vatican bank. the money was not used for personal purposes for i call the power struggles within the vatican for power and closeness to the pope. >> what is the catholic church's history with money? >> with money. >> with money. >> the reason that this turned out to be thank
goodness i have a publisher that was willing to allow me to expand this book because i pitched him an idea in 2005. had to bring it back a little bit. the key part of that was you just ask with the vatican's vatican's relationship to money was. they did not like the idea. the biblethe bible said no lending at interest. it was usury. you could not do it. capitalismcapitalism was an idea mixed in with modernism, very dangerous. more money from the rothchild. was good lost their empire they ran a 15,000 square mile empire called the papal states.
you paid the bills. they had a scramble. selling indulgences, asking the faithful to send in the contributions. they slowlythey slowly and gradually embrace the concepts of capitalism, and in 1942 it is as though they go from an institution to embracing capitalism and putting it on steroids. the next 70 years they are engaged in savage capitalism. the change in the churches view toward money is as dramatic in the last 70 years as anything in the 2,000 year history. >> back in 1986 i put on a biography, the persistence
of the bit of luck. i found documents about german war criminals and the bishop and i thought to myself, that is interesting, a priest and a bishop in nazi war criminals. it took me until 2005 and ten bucks later to find a publisher to set all right, we are willing to let you go. the story turned out to be different than i expected because not getting into it until i started the book it turned out to be about money world war ii was also about money. whether they were too afraid of bolshevism and stalin and the communists.
>> how many books have you written? >> twelve bucks now, although the right as though is this, many more. i think david juergen years ago, several years later in publishing it, so there was tremendous and to have influence. i was running slow. we would have published under the pontificate of benedict but the reaction would have not been is interesting. francis is energize the church, the idea that he is a reforminga reforming pope, he says things differently than predecessors, has brought attention to the catholic church for non-catholics. in the book ends on a note of optimism, although it is
artistry it isends on a note of optimism because i think francis is trying to reform. it is a very different book publishing under francis's papacy command that is just the luck of when you publish. >> publicly said all the right things. every other pope has send the right thing. when he became pope and seven to reform the bank more or less said sure, for that before. but he changed my mind in the following way. whoever is pope today, they would have to be reforming the bank. and 99 italy decided to go with the euro and whatwhen it did that meant that the vatican was in a quandary. they hadhave to decide whether to print their own currency or go with the euro. they did not know that meant
brussels wanted oversight. so as a result they had to patch their 1st ever law, the 1st ever law against money laundering. the 1st ever law against how much money you could bring in undisclosed. they had to come somewhat compliant by the european standards, but francis has done it with enthusiasm and figure. he has brought in outsiders who are really trying to change the culture of no transparency and make it compliant bank. he may succeed. the institute for the works of religion is the vatican bank.
sometimes you don't go by the name of the institution. >> is there a physical location? >> there is. it is a medieval tower inside of vatican city, six this the sixth, and in this tower is where the bank is located. there is no other branch. the only atms are inside vatican city, and it is the only bank in the world that has latin is one of the languages an atm. >> could you or i open an account? >> in the battle days we might have if we knew a cardinal. todaya cardinal. today we would have a great deal of difficulty doing it. you're only supposed to open it if you are religious order or charity but julia andreotti, seven-time postwar prime minister of italy tab key year and a half ago. he numeral monsignor open an account. it was called the cardinal
spellman foundation. there was no such institution organization anywhere and through it we have the records that he ran about 60 million in cash for everything fromeverything from paying for his wife's jeweler to slush funds for the politicians. recently became known when everyone around them was bank 600,000. that's the way they have operated for years and that is the answer to your question. >> how cooperative if at all was the vatican in your research? >> i would like to be able to say that they were cooperative, but they were not. i asked for access to the
secret archives where the world war ii business documents are in the bishop of miami here lobbied on my behalf for access, the bishop in washington lobbied on my behalf but the bishop who runs the vatican archives said no which forced me to do it the old-fashioned way. and to goadd together the institutions a new had done business with the vatican bank, going to their files and private archives and pull of the transactions that have been done with rome 50, 60, and 70 years ago. i have also called on the pope says the publication of this book in los angeles timestimes op-ed i asked for the pope to release the banks world war ii bio. there was no response. i asked him the same thing and there has been no response. i am hopeful that francis will prove to be not just a
lot of people say no, a lot of people get on the record formal interviews and occasionally what happens is you meet somebody who is after a couple of meeting says maybe we should have a beer one night and we can talk. that opens the door and eventually they say i know someone should talk to over here who worked as a former auditor. you never know where that passes. i show the vatican did business with insurance companies. there might be someone else who can say they do business with arms manufacturers pharmaceutical companies. is this the absolute final word? no. it is a thorough word on what was able to find out. >> here is the book. cars bankers,, history of money and power in the vatican. >> thirty-year correspondent with npr news.
why does your book start and end in fairfax, virginia? >> fairfax county virginia is one of the best examples of a communitya community that has been totally transformed by immigration over the last 50 years and it is how america has changed during these 50 years that is what is interesting to me and i wanted to set it in a particular community. fairfax county in 1970 about .5% of.5 percent of the population was born outside the country. today close to one out of three residents of fairfax county was born outside the country. the influx of immigrants from all over the world has completely changed fairfax county from this girl largely white county into really the epitome of multicultural america. >> why do you believe that is? >> all of america has been transformed by immigration.
the foreign-born shares three times what it was 50 years ago and immigrants are coming from places where they did not come from before. nine out of ten immigrants were from europe. about seven out of eight immigrants were from europe, europe, now nine out of ten immigrants are from outside europe. so that is representative in fairfax county. makes fairfax county somewhat unique is it is near the capitol and there is a lot of defense industry and technology industry. it has brought in more immigrants than other places, but it actually is quite representative of many parts of the us. >> proud of their immigrant grandparents, proud of being a mixing pot. when we talk about bringing immigrants from syria, talk about immigration issues they become reticent. >> we have this myth in
america that we are a nation of immigrants. it is something we told ourselves about our history from the beginning. the truth is, for 200 years we were not really a nation of immigrants. we were a nation of immigrants from northern and western europe and that policy was enforced by national origin quotas and is really only been since 1965 when we get away with these quotas that we became a nation of immigrants from all over the world. it is only in the last 5050 years that we became a truly diverse nation. and the truth is, that is a dramatic thing for our country to go through. i got accustomed to considering our sovereign nation of immigrants people's backgrounds are different than we are still dealing with it.
the incorporation of immigrants has been a largely successful experience that there are a lot of people who are very troubled by it. >> they know fairfax county and fairfax virginia was once a conservative area. to the immigrant population have something to do with that? >> what happened is three things, in 1960 it was not only world but segregated. neighborhoods are segregated, schools were segregated. in the 60s and 70s fairfax county with through desegregation. at the same time it went through urbanization. prior to that it was a desperate community. incorporated fairfax county and the county became an ex- urban suburban almost urban part of dc. the 3rd thing was immigration.
we have had this huge influx of immigrants. anyone of those transformations would have been traumatic. the combination of the three in quick succession change the character of the country , the county. and now with these new residence and sort of new character it is changed politically as well as culturally as well as sociologically. >> immigration has become a hot button topic in the republican primaries. it will probably be part of the presidential primaries and comes up every four years. >> what is interesting about this primary season is for the 1st time the issue around immigration is not just what do we do about undocumented people which is
an issue we have debated for years but for the 1st time we are hearing people saying we have too many immigrants, legal or illegal. maybe we are getting too many immigrants from cultures that are not like our own, too many muslim. so there's a different character this year as there has been in the past and it is forcing americans to think about what kind of nation we are and whether we will be true to our immigrant traditions and reputation as a country that is open to everybody where anyone can get a fresh start and as long as you believe in the nda you can become american. it is really only now that we are really putting that to the test. and you know there are a lot of candidates and politicians that are fanning very old fears of foreigners, people unlike us. we have seen it before and it seems to be coming back.
with immigrants becoming a bigger share of population we are seeing it again. >> longtime correspondent for npr news. thank you so much. >> here is a look at some authors recently featured. reporting on the factors contributing to america's health and wellness. the rise of big money in college football. fox news correspondent james rosen looks at former vice president dick cheney's time in the bush administration.