Vatican Palace

Lawyers for a man who was sexually abused decades ago by a priest at a school for the deaf have withdrawn their lawsuit. The lawsuit filed by Attorney Jeff Anderson, named Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials as defendants.

He alleged that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and his deputies knew about allegations of sexual abuse at St. John’s School for the Deaf and did not take any action against the accused priest. The Vatican at the time rejected Anderson’s lawsuit as a publicity stunt.

Anderson’s firm filed a voluntary notice Friday (10 February 2012) in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee to dismiss the lawsuit.

Vatican city is now plagued by rumours and leaks involving money laundering at the Vatican bank, corruption in the awarding of Vatican contracts and even a purported plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI. The Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano published the sensational ”mordkomplott” letter detailing an alleged plot against the Pope on its front page on Friday. Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman dismissed that report as “so completely beyond reality and hardly serious that I don’t even want to consider it.”

These rumours are surfacing at a time the pontiff is about to crown 22 new cardinals who will elect his successor. Such ceremonies always breed such rumours and speculations.

In June, a European commission will decide whether the Holy See has abided by tough international anti-money laundering and anti-terror finance laws. This will forever clean Vatican’s image as a scandal-plagued, secrecy-obsessed tax haven.

In recent weeks the Vatican has done a lot to comply with international financial standards. It has ratified three major U.N. conventions, rewritten its law on money laundering and, separately, scored a legal victory in the U.S. concerning its embattled bank, the Institute for Religious Works or IOR.

The La7 television commercial channel’s weekly investigative program, “The Untouchables”, published leaked letters from the former No. 2 in the Vatican City state administration, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. The letters were addressed to Benedict and his Secretary of State Bertone in 2011. In one, Vigano begged not to be transferred after exposing what he said was corruption in the awarding of Vatican contracts. The Vatican has threatened to take legal action against the Italian TV programme after it used internal church documents to argue that Pope Benedict XVI and his Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone effectively removed an archbishop for trying to clean up corruption and financial mismanagement in Vatican City.

Luca Tescaroli was the Rome prosecutor who pursued a 30-year-old case concerning the death of Roberto Calvi, the Catholic banker who helped manage the Vatican’s investments and was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982. Calvi headed the Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in 1982 after the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans made to dummy companies in Latin America. Tescaroli was the guest this week on “The Untouchables,” which has been on a campaign of sorts against the IOR. It is hosted by Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of the 2009 book Vatican SpA about the IOR scandals that was based on a trove of leaked Vatican documents.

“The IOR,”  stated the Vatican Press office, “is not a bank. It is a foundation founded on civil and canonical law with its own regulations. It does not have reserve funds and does not lend money like a bank”. “It’s also not an off-shore bank“ continued  the statement released by the Vatican.

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