“You see, young man, the age of the Church is past, in which he said, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’ To which Aquinas replied, “True, holy father, but the age is also past, in which he could say to a paralytic, ‘Rise up and walk.'”

Trouble with the Vatican Bank

With the trip to England, the Pope has stepped fully into the papacy. There were no major setbacks and he presented the Church as still the most dignified representative of humanity — and did so in the secular heart of the secular continent (stepping into the belly of the beast, so to speak, and leaving unwounded; indeed, with new and well-deserved respect). Thus far it is the high point of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, coming at a time when Church credibility in Europe is in crisis and to a region that has been of special cause to him. The British media admitted that Pope Benedict “succeeded in presenting himself as a lovable, elderly figure,” as one news service stated. “What the visit accomplished above all was to unify Catholics and humanize a pope who has so often been perceived as cold, aloof and authoritarian,” wrote Catherine Pepinster, editor of a Catholic newspaper called The Tablet.

It was a huge victory, the product of courage, which means it was the product of faith. A Crucifix he held even seemed to radiate. “This was a much more successful visit than the Roman Catholic hierarchy had dared to hope,” said the Daily Mail newspaper. “The crowds were larger than had been forecast, if not as big as they were when the charismatic Pope John Paul II came to this country 28 years ago.” The Sun added: “The pontiff’s visit proved much more substantial than anticipated.”

Upon his return, the Pope was met by what may or may not turn out to be another scandal — an investigation by Italian authorities of the Vatican bank’s chief and the impounding of $30 million of Vatican assets.

It is too early to tell if there is merit to the investigation or whether the Italian authorities and media are playing it up as a little taste of persecution (perhaps the devil’s response to the success in England). The bank chief, Ettore Gotti Edeschi, says it was all caused by an error in procedure: money transfers from one account to another that were not “money-laundering,” which is what authorities ostensibly are guarding against.

Read more