Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was president of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) from 2009 to 2012, has said he forgives “all those who have spoken so ill” of him that he was “removed unfairly from the presidency of the IOR.”
The Italian financier, who was forced to resign in 2012 as president of the IOR (also known colloquially as the Vatican Bank), said he does not seek revenge on his enemies in the Vatican, Italian media reported Monday.
Gotti Tedeschi’s character was impugned in his dismissal after just three years in the post with various false accusations, including a charge of being involved in a suspected money laundering scandal.
But in March, Rome judges acquitted him of having anything to do with such a crime. The banker’s attorneys said the judge’s ruling vindicated their client and “shows the unfounded … accusations” made by the bank’s board when it fired him.
The lawyers had threatened legal action and said the ruling showed the IOR’s board had committed “grave errors and thus grave damage to the Holy See” by firing their client when he was working to improve transparency and accountability.
But Gotti Tedeschi has said he does not hold a grudge against the Vatican and that his acquittal has partly compensated for the bitterness he felt imposed on him at the time of his resignation.
“I am grateful to the judges for this ‘absolution’ and for the reasons that have accompanied it. But I am also a son and a member of the Church, I love my Church, but at the same time I would like to feel loved by my Church. I say this in sincerity … I do not want revenge.”
Aware it may sound ironic, he said, “What would you think if I told you that from the events experienced in the past two years, I have also drawn benefits that have made me mature spiritually, and which have grown my faith? Yes, I think this now, more than ever before.”
Reflecting on what would please him now that he’s been exonerated, Gotti Tedeschi said he would like a meeting with Pope Francis, but said he leaves the decision to the Holy Father who “knows best” what to do. He said the Pope would also know whether a “confidential discussion” between them would be appropriate or not.
The Italian economist said he had felt support from Pope Benedict, noting: “I always felt his esteem and affection in many difficult moments.” It was a “privilege” to serve as IOR president under him, Gotti Tedeschi stated.
He said to meet the retired Pope again would “be a dream,” especially to do so with his wife, “because she, too, has suffered greatly in the past two years” and “has a very special devotion to the Pope Emeritus. ”
Asked what he would like to say to Francis and Benedict, he said: “I would like to explain to them that I was only ever interested in serving the Church and helping, with my modest means, the Pope in his mission as universal pastor.”
“In my service to the Church and to the Pope, I always tried to do that with all my abilities and my limitations. But always with sincerity and conscience,” he said. (D.C.L.)