There has now been an exchange to think about the planning of a government regime in the Donbass and they are discussing it. A beautiful and ugly thing happened a short time ago. The bad thing, I must say, is the hypocrisy of the arms trade: Christian countries, or at least of Christian culture, European countries that speak of peace and live on weapons. This is called hypocrisy. It is an evangelical word, Jesus said it, somewhere in chapter 23 of Matthew. To end with that hypocrisy and that a nation may have the courage to say: "I cannot speak of peace because my economy earns so much with the manufacture of arms."
But these are all things that [we do] without insulting and dirtying that country, but speaking like brothers. Human brotherhood! Let's stop, guys, let's stop because the thing is bad! In a port, now I don't remember well, a ship full of weapons arrived that had to pass the weapons in a bigger ship that had to go to Yemen -we know what happens in Yemen. Port workers said no. They were good! And the ship has returned to her home. It’s one case, but it teaches us how to go about it. And peace today is very weak, very weak! But do not be discouraged, do we help this weakness with weapons?
Guenois: And legitimate self-defence with weapons?
Pope Francis: The hypothesis of self-defense always remains. It is a hypothesis that even in moral theology must be contemplated, but as a last resort, last resort with weapons! The legitimate defense with diplomacy, with mediation ... Last resort: legitimate defense, but I stress last resort. We are making an ethical progress and I like to question all these things. It means that humanity goes ahead also for good, not just for evil.
Cristiana Caricato (TV2000, Italy): Holy Father, people read in the newspapers that the Holy See has acquired an apartment for hundreds of thousands of euros in the heart of London, and they become a bit disconcerted, because of this use of Vatican finances. Also, in particular, because it involves Peter’s Pence. Did you know of these financial things? And above all, in your opinion, is it correct to use Peter’s Pence in that way? You have often said that money should not be made with money. You have often denounced the unscrupulous use of finances. However, we see that this operation involves the Holy See. This scandalizes in some way. How do you see this whole event?
Pope Francis: Thank you. First of all, in good administration it is normal for a sum to come from the Peter’s Pence, and what do I do? Put in a drawer? No, this is bad administration. But I look to make an investment, and when there is the need, to give... when there is the necessity, in one year, you take it. Your capital you do not devalue, if it maintains or if it grows a little. This is good administration.
If [it is] an administration of the drawer, it is bad. But you should try to make a good administration, a good investment. Is that clear?
Also an investment, as we say, an investment by widows? What do widows do? [Ed.note: An Italian saying] Two or three here, five here, if one falls, one of the others so that they are not ruined is always on security, this is always moral.
If from Peter’s Pence you invest in a weapons factory, the pence is not a pence there, eh?
If you make an investment and for years, without touching it, the capital does not go, Peter’s Pence should be spent in one year, one year and a half, until the other collection arrives which is made world-wide. And this is good management.
On security, and also, yes, you can buy a property, rent it, and then sell it. But, on security, with all of the securities, for the good of the people of the Pence. This, one. Then, what passed passed: A scandal. They have done things that do not seem ‘clean.’
But, the report did not come from the outside. That reform of the economic methodology, that Benedict XVI had already started, is going forward. And it was the auditor of the internal accounts to say: ‘Here there is a bad thing. Here there is something that is not working.’ And he came to me. And I said, but are you sure? ‘Yes.’ And he let me see the numbers. ‘What should I do?’ [he asked]. [I said:] There is the Vatican justice. Go and give the report to the Promoter of Justice. And in this I remained content, because you see that the Vatican administration now has the resources to clarify the bad things which happen inside, like in this case, that -- if it is not the case of the apartment in London, because this is not yet clear -- but in that [other instance] there were cases of corruption.
And the Promoter of Justice studied the accusations, consulted, and saw an imbalance in the budget. And then, he asked me for permission to make the searches. I said: ‘Is it clear, your report?’ He told me, ‘yes, there is a presumption of corruption in these cases. I should carry out searches in this office, this office, and this office.’ And I signed the authorization.
The searches were done in five offices. And up to today, but we have the presumption of innocence, but there is capital that is not administered well, also with corruption.
I believe that in less than two months they will begin questioning the five people that are blocked [suspended from the Vatican], because there were indications of corruption. You will ask me: ‘And these five are corrupt?’ No, the presumption of innocence is a guarantee, a human right. But, there is corruption, and you will see. With the searches you will see if they are guilty or not.
It’s a bad thing, it’s not good what is happening in the Vatican. But it is clear that the internal mechanisms are beginning to work, those that Benedict XVI had already started to make. And I thank God. I do not thank God that there is corruption, but I thank God that the Vatican monitoring system is working well.
Bruni: The next question is from Phil Pullella of Reuters.
Pope Francis: [small talk]
Philip Pullella (Reuters): [small talk] If you permit me, I would like to follow a little on the question Cristiana asked, if you permit me, with a few more details.
There is a lot of worry in the last few weeks about what happened and about the finances of the Vatican. And according to some people, there is an internal war over who should control the money, according to some people. The major part of the members of the council of the administration of AIF are dismissed. The Egmont Group, a group of these financial authorities have suspended of the Vatican, the secure communication [...] The director of AIF is still suspended, as you said, and still there is no general revisore.
What can you do or say to guarantee to the international financial community, and to the faithful in general, who are called to contribute to Peter’s Pence, that the Vatican will not return to be considered a pariah a thing [inaudible] that is, to have trust you will continue and not return to the habits of the past?
Pope Francis: Thank you for the question. The Vatican has made steps forward in its administration, for example, the IOR today has the acceptance of all the banks and can act like the Italian banks, normal. Something which was not there a year ago. There is progress.
Then, the Egmont Group, that is not an official international group, a group to which the AIF belongs. And the international control does not depend on the Egmont Group, a private group that has its weight. It is a private group. And MONEYVAL will carry out the inspection it has scheduled for the first months of the next year and it will do it, it will do it.
The director of the AIF is in suspension because there were suspicions of bad administration. The president of AIF was strong with the Egmont Group to take back the documentation. And this the justice cannot do.
In front of this, I consulted with an Italian judge of a high level. 'What should I do?' Justice in front of an accusation of corruption is sovereign in a country. It's sovereign. And no one can involve themselves there inside. No one can say to the Egmont Group, “your papers are here.” No, the papers should be studied, that they add up (FARE) to what seems a bad administration, in the sense of a bad control.
It was AIF that did not control, it seems, the crimes of others. And therefore [it failed] in its duty of controls. I hope that they prove it is not so. Because there is, still, the presumption of innocence.
And for the moment, the magistrates, the magistrate is sovereign. He should study how it went. Because on the contrary,, a country should have a superior administration that would harm the sovereignty of the country.
And the [term of the] president of AIF was expiring [November] 19th. I would call him a few days before and he was not in agreement that I was re-calling him [as president of AIF] and announced that the 19th he was leaving. I found a successor, a judge of the highest juridical and economic level, national and international, and at my return, he takes charge of AIF and things will continue like so.
It would have been a contradiction that the monitoring authority to be sovereign over the state. It is something which is not easy to understand, but what is a little disturbed is the Egmont Group, which is a private group. It helps a lot, but it is not the monitoring authority of MONEYVAL. MONEYVAL will study the numbers. It will study the procedures. It will study how [...] the Promoter of Justice. And how the judges have determined the things.
I know that in these days the interrogation of the five who were suspended will begin or has already begun. It is not easy, but we should not be naive. We should not be slaves.
Someone told me -- but I do not believe it -- but they said, 'yes, with this, we have touched the Egmont Group. You scare the people . We are creating a little terrorism…’ Let’s leave that aside. We go forward with the law, with MONEYVAL, with the new president of AIF, and the director was suspended but maybe he is innocent. I would like that, because it is a beautiful thing [if] one is innocent and not guilty. I felt a little bit of noise with this group that was not wanting that the papers be touched that belong to the group.
Pullella: And a guarantee for the faithful that…?
Pope Francis: To guarantee this? Look, it’s the first time that in the Vatican the pot is discovered from the inside, not from the outside, From the outside many times. And they said look there and we had so much embarrassment... But in this Pope Benedict was wise. And he began a process that matured and now the institutions that the auditor had the courage to make a written report against five people… The auditor is working. Really, I do not want to offend the Egmont Group, because they did so much good, help, but in this case the state has sovereignty. And even justice is more sovereign then the executive power, more sovereign. It is not easy to understand but I ask you all to understand this difficulty.
Roland Juchem (CIC, Germany): Holy Father, on the flight from Bangkok to Tokyo, you sent a telegram to Carrie Lam of Hong Kong. What do you think about the situation there, about the manifestations and after the district council elections? And when can we accompany you to Beijing?
The telegrams are sent to every head of state. It is an automatic procedure, it is a matter of greeting and also a kind way to ask permission to fly over their territory. They do not mean either a condemnation or a backing. It is automatic. All the flights do that when they enter and give a warning. We do that with kindness, we greet. This has no meaning, according to the sense of your question. It only means courtesy.
On the other situation you are talking about, I will think about that. It is not only about Hong Kong. Think about Chile, think about France, the democratic France in the year of the yellow vests, think about other Latin American countries, like Brazil, that have similar problems, (think) also about some European country. It is a general issue. And what does the Holy See do? It calls for dialogue, for peace. It is not just Hong Kong. There are many countries with problems, and in this moment I am not able to assess them. I respect the peace and I call for peace in all of these countries with problems. There are also problems with Spain, problems like these… it is convenient to relativize the issues and call for the dialogue and the peace to solve the problems.
Pope Francis: I would like to go to Beijing, I love China
Valentina Alazraki (Televisa, Spain): Pope Francis, Latin America is under fire. After Venezuela, we have seen in Chile images that we did not think we were going to see again after Pinochet. We have seen the situation in Bolivia, Nicaragua, other countries. Riots, violence in the streets, dead and injured, Churches looted. What is your assessment on what it is happening in these countries? Can the Church, and you personally as a Latin American pope, do something? Are you doing something?
Pope Francis: Somebody told me: ‘The situation in Latin America nowadays looks like the situation in 1974 - 1980,’ Chile, Argentina, Urguay, Brazil, I think also Bolivia, they had the Operation Condor - this is how it was called - the situation was so in fire. I do not know if one situation looks like the other, I am not able now to make a general evaluation of this. It is true, there are declarations that are not precisely peace declarations. The Chilean issue, since Chile comes out of an abuse crisis that made us suffer a lot, and now comes back with this kind of issue that we do not understand well.
But Chile is under fire, as you say. We must look for the dialogue and also for the analysis. I have not yet found a well done analysis on the situation in Latin American. And also there are weak, very weak governments, that were not able to bring order and peace: this is also a reason why there is this situation.
Alazraki: Evo Morales asked for your mediation, for example. Concrete things...
Pope Francis: Yes, the concrete things. Venezuela asked for the mediation and the Holy See has always been available, there is a good relation. We are there to help when it is needed. Bolivia asked for something similar, I still do not know how, but also forward a request to the United Nations that sent delegates and also some countries of the United Nations. I do not know about Chile. Brazil certainly did not, but there are problems also there. It is a strange thing, I would not want to say more, because I sincerely have not studied the issue in depth.
I take advantage of your question. You did not speak a lot about Thailand and Thailand is different from Japan, it is another culture-- of transcendence and of beauty, different for the beauty of Japan. So much poverty and so many spiritual richness. But there is also a problem that is heart-breaking and that make us think to Grecia and the others. She is a mater on this issue of the exploitation. She studied well and her book did a lot of good. Some places of Thailand are difficult for this reason.
There is also north Thailand, where I could not go. The tribal Thailand, as there is the tribal northeastern India, with a totally different culture. I received some twenty people from that area, they are the first baptized people who came to Rome.
Bangkok, we saw that, is a very modern city. It is a strong, big city, with problems and wealth other than Japan.
I wanted to underscore the issue of exploitation. And I thank you and your book. And I would like to thank the green book by Franca. Where is Giansoldati? She is there. Two women, who are in the flight, wrote a book each on the issues of today. The ecological issue, the issue of the destruction of the mother earth, of the environment. And the issue of the human exploitation. We can see that women work more than men and are skilled. Thanks. I thank you both for this contribution. And still I have in my heart the shirt of Rocio. I will not forget.
I thank you all. Thanks for your straightforward questions, thanks. This is good, it is always good. Pray for me. Have a good meal!
This unofficial transcript and translation is a collabortion of journalists at CNA, and its Italian and Spanish language news partners. Every effort is made for accuracy and clarity.