DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     September 3, 1998     vol. 9, no. 173

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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ITALIAN GOVERNMENT ANSWERS VATICAN COMPLAINT

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Italian government has responded to formal Vatican complaints over the investigation of Cardinal Michele Giordano of Naples, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls revealed today.

          In the police inquiry, which remains a source of tension between the Holy See and the government, the Vatican has apparently been told that in the view of the government, the investigation did not violate the terms of a concordat regulating church-state relations.

          A police investigation into the possible criminal activities of the cardinal's brother led to a thorough search of archdiocesan offices last week. Church officials had protested that the concordat required police to notify the bishops before conducting a search of church property, except under extraordinary circumstances. But Italian magistrates had specifically authorized a search in this case.

          The search-- which resulted in confiscation of financial records from archdiocesan offices-- was aimed at uncovering any possible evidence of money-laundering and loan-sharking activities. Mario Giordano, the cardinal's brother, has been identified as a Mafia operative involved with those activities. Cardinal Giordano himself has frequently condemned the Mafia practices.

          In addition to the protest over the physical search of church property, the Vatican has been upset by the news that Italian investigators wiretapped the cardinal's telephone. Although the 1984 concordat does not address the question of such electronic searches, the Holy See and the Naples archdiocese clearly believe the wiretap violates the spirit of the accord. "What if the Pope had called me!" Cardinal Giordano asked rhetorically in a television interview.

          Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, justice minister Maria Giovanni Flick, and foreign minister Lamberto Dini were all involved in the preparation of a formal answer to the Vatican's complaints, which had been lodged with the Italian government's ambassador to the Holy See, Alberto Leoncini Bartoli.

          Bartoli today met with Msgr. Celestino Migliore at the Vatican Secretariat of State to convey the government's response. The Vatican is now studying that response, according to Navarro-Valls, to determine what new steps might be appropriate.


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September 3, 1998       volume 9, no. 173
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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