HOLY FATHER RECEIVES THE "PUERI CANTORES"
VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS reports) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in an international congress of the International Federation of "Pueri Cantores", currently being held in Rome.
The Pope addressed the group in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Polish and Ukrainian. "As you use your talents and your faith to sing God's praises, you give voice to the natural desire of every human being to glorify Him, with songs of love", he said. "Yet beautiful music is able to express something of the mystery of God's love for us and ours for Him, as we are reminded by the theme chosen for your Congress: 'Deus Caritas Est'".
"Always remember that your singing is a service. Firstly, it is a service to God, a way of giving Him the praise that is due. It is also a service to your fellow worshippers, helping them to raise their hearts and minds to the Lord in prayer. And it is a service to the whole Church, offering a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy that is the goal of all true worship, when the choirs of angels and saints unite in one unending song of love and praise".
VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of the Pope's Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors:
The Apostolic See has always raised its voice to exhort all men and women of good will, and especially the leaders of nations, to commit themselves to building - also through just and lasting peace in all parts of the world - the universal city of God, towards which the history of peoples and nations progresses [Benedict XVI, Enc. Let. 'Caritas in veritate' (29 June 2009), 7: AAS 101/2009, 645]. Unfortunately, peace in our time and in an increasingly globalised society is threatened by various causes, among them the inappropriate use of the market and the economy, as well as the terrible destruction of terrorist violence, which causes death, suffering, hatred and social instability.
Quite rightly, the international community is increasingly equipping itself with juridical principles and instruments that enable it to prevent and contrast the phenomena of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The Holy See approves this commitment and intends to adopt these rules in its own use of the material resources it needs to carry out its mission, and to carry out the tasks of Vatican City State.
In this context, also in implementation of the Monetary Convention of 17 December 2009 between Vatican City State and the European Union, I have approved for Vatican City State the publication of the Law of 30 December 2010 concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism, which is being promulgated today.
With this Apostolic Letter in the form of "Motu Proprio":
(a) I decree that the abovementioned Law of Vatican City State, and its future modifications, is also valid for the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and for all Institutions and Entities dependent on the Holy See, when they undertake the activities defined in article 2 of the said Law.
(b) I establish the "Autorita di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF), as indicated in article 33 of the Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism, as an Institution connected with the Holy See in accordance with articles 186 and 190-191 of the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus", conferring thereon public juridical canonical status and Vatican civil status, and approving its Statute which is attached to this Motu Proprio.
(c) I decree that the "Autorita di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF) is to exercise its functions in relation to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and in relation to all the Institutions and Entities mentioned in paragraph (a) above.
(d) I delegate the competent judicial bodies of Vatican City State to exercise their penal jurisdiction - only as concerns the crimes conjectured in the abovementioned Law - in relation to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and in relation to all the Institutions and Entities mentioned in paragraph (a) above.
I order that what has thus been established is to have full and stable validity as of today's date, notwithstanding any dispositions to the contrary, though worthy of special mention.
I decree that this Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio is to be published in the "Acta Apostolicae Sedis".
Published in Rome, from the Apostolic Palace, 30 December of the year 2010, sixth of the Pontificate.
VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the English-language text of a communique issued by the Secretariat of State regarding the new legislation for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors:
(1) Today, in implementation of the Monetary Convention of 17 December 2009 (2010/C 28/05) between Vatican City State and the European Union, four new Laws were adopted:
- the "Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism";
- the "Law on fraud and counterfeiting of Euro banknotes and coins";
- the "Law concerning the size, specifications, reproductions, substitutions of and withdrawals from use of Euro banknotes and concerning the implementation of measures to be taken against the irregular reproduction of Euro banknotes and the substitution of and withdrawal from use of Euro banknotes";
- the "Law regarding the face, unitary value and technical specifications, as well as the copyright of the designs of the national faces of the Euro coins destined for circulation".
The process of drafting the above-mentioned Laws was conducted with the assistance of the Mixed Committee, established in Art.11 of the Monetary Convention, composed of representatives of Vatican City State and of the European Union. The European Union delegation is composed of representatives of the Commission and of the Republic of Italy as well as representatives of the Central European Bank.
The Law concerning the prevention and countering of money laundering and of the financing of terrorism is published together with this communique, while the others will be published on the website of Vatican City State, at www.vaticanstate.va
(2) The Law concerning the prevention of money laundering and of the financing of terrorism contains the following in a single piece of legislation:
- specification of criminal activities which comprise the laundering of money, self money-laundering, and the so-called "predicate crimes" (that is, the criminal activities which generate incomes, that are subsequently laundered), for which penal fines are foreseen;
- specification of activities with a more administrative content related to international co-operation, but also to prevention, for which pecuniary administrative fines are foreseen.
The above Law is based on the following main obligations:
- "adequate verification" of the counterpart;
- registration and conservation of data concerning ongoing relations and operations;
- reporting of suspicious transactions.
The structure of this Law, while taking into account the specificity of the Vatican legal system into which it is inserted, conforms to the principles and rules in force throughout the European Union and is therefore in conformity with the norms of other nations which have more developed rules in this regard. This is seen in the provisions concerning, among other things, self money-laundering, the controls on cash entering or leaving Vatican City State, the obligations regarding the transfer of funds, and the heavy administrative sanctions that are applicable not only to legal persons and entities but also to the physical persons who act on their behalf, by means of the binding recourse action.
(3) In conformity with what is found in the most recent norms of the European Union, the Law on fraud and counterfeiting responds to the need to adopt a solid network of legal protection of Euro banknotes and coins from counterfeiting. This requires procedures of withdrawal from circulation of counterfeited banknotes and coins, the reinforcing of penal sanctions, as well as various forms of European and international cooperation.
(4) The Laws concerning the Euro banknotes and coins contain the following for those Banknotes and coins:
- norms for the protection of the copyright of the designs;
- rules regarding size, technical characteristics, circulation and substitution;
- the prospective application of administrative pecuniary fines for violation of any of these Laws.
(5) The drafting of the Laws that are adopted today does not involve Vatican City State alone. The Holy See, which is legally distinct from Vatican City State and which directs entities and institutions active in various areas, has adopted as its own the "Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism". The adoption of this Law was accomplished by means of the "Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the area of monetary and financial dealings".
With that Apostolic Letter, which is also published today and signed by the Supreme Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI:
- it is also established that the Law of Vatican City State and its future modifications apply as well to the "Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and for each and every institution or entity dependent on the Holy See", among which the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR) is included, so as to confirm the latter's firm intention to operate according to principles and criteria which are internationally recognised;
- the Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) is established, an autonomous and independent body with the specific task of preventing and countering the laundering of money and the financing of terrorism with respect to each subject, both legal and physical, entity and institution of whatever nature, of Vatican City State, of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and of all the other institutions and entities dependent on the Holy See;
- the competent judicial authorities of Vatican City State are henceforth delegated to exercise penal jurisdiction in regard to the above-mentioned institutions, in the case of crimes related to money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The Apostolic Letter is published on the Holy See's website, at www.vatican.va
(6) The AIF, whose President and members of the Governing Council are appointed by the Pope, is charged with the task of adopting the complex and delicate norms of implementation which are indispensable in ensuring that the subjects of the Holy See and of Vatican City State - from 1 April 2011 - will respect these new and important obligations aimed at countering the laundering of money and the financing of terrorism. On 1 April 2011, the "Law concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism" will enter into force.
(7) Experience will help to refine and integrate the new norms concerning the prevention and countering of money-laundering and the financing of terrorism in accordance with the principles and the standards in force in the international community; such need might derive from the Holy See's and Vatican City State's openness to deal with competent international instances in countering both money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.
(8) These new Laws are part of the Apostolic See's efforts to build a just and honest social order. At no time may the great principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility be neglected or weakened (cf. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 36).
VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a note written by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. on the Pope's Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors. Fr. Lombardi's note is entitled "Transparency , honesty and responsibility".
Today's publication of new laws for Vatican City State, for the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and for the Institutions and Entities dependent on the Holy See, is an important normative development, but also has far-reaching moral and pastoral significance.
As of today, all organisations associated with the government of the Catholic Church - and with the Church's "support": Vatican City State - have, in a spirit of sincere collaboration, become part of that system of juridical principles and instruments which the international community is creating with the aim of guaranteeing just and honest coexistence in an increasingly globalised world; a world in which, unfortunately, economy and finance is not infrequently a field for illegal activities, such as the recycling of the profits of crime and the financing of terrorism, true threats to justice and peace in the world.
Speaking plainly, the Pope affirms that the "Holy See approves such a commitment" on the part of the international community, "and intends to adopt the rules" the community uses "to prevent and combat" these terrible phenomena.
Illegal activities have always shown an extraordinary ability to infiltrate and contaminate the world of economy and finance, but their growth at the international level, and the use of new technology, have made them increasingly insidious and capable of concealment. Thus, by way of protection, it has become vital to create mutual control and information networks among the authorities charged with contrasting such activities.
It would be ingenuous to imagine that the perverse intelligence of the people who control illegal activities would not seek to exploit certain weak spots which sometimes exist in the international systems that defend and oversee legality, in order to penetrate and violate them. For this reason international solidarity is of vital importance in order to safeguard those systems, and it is right and understandable that national watchdogs and the competent international organisations (the Council of Europe and, in particular, FATF the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering) should look favourably upon the States and organisations which offer the requested guarantees, and impose greater limitations on those which fail to conform.
Naturally, this also holds true for Vatican City and for those ecclesiastical organisations which undertake economic and financial activities.
Thus the new norms respond both to the need to conserve the effectiveness of the organisations that work in the economic and financial sector at the service of the Catholic Church in the world and, - more importantly - to the moral requirement of "transparency, honesty and responsibility", which must always be observed in the social and economic field (Caritas in Veritate, 36).
The implementation of the new norms will certainly require great commitment. A new Financial Information Authority must be set up, new obligations must be respected, new functions exercised. But this cannot but be of benefit to the Church. Vatican organisations will be less vulnerable in the face of the continuous risks that inevitably arise in the handling of money. Those errors which so quickly become the cause of "scandal" for public opinion and the faithful will be avoided. In the final analysis the Church will be more "credible" before the members of the international community, and this is of vital importance for her evangelical mission. Today, 30 December 2010, the Pope has signed a document of a type a little unusual for him, but one of great courage and of great moral and spiritual significance. This is a good way to conclude the year: with a step towards transparency and credibility!
VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for January 2011 is: "That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society".
His mission intention is: "That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel".