/// This is the text of what was blocked by Vatican servers when attempting to send this as an email txt and then as a pdf file. Blocked two days in a row. That’s not mere server housekeeping. So, I publish it here. Too creepy for me. I take out the two names to whom this is addressed in the IOR, Vatican Bank. ///
Dear Mr XXXX XXXXXXX and Mr XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX,
Thank you for your continued service at IOR in such difficult times. The pressure you are all under is witnessed by the anomalous manner with which the request for the updating of personal details of (some) account holders has been proffered. Except for the fact that you work for the Holy See (Vatican City State), I would, in any other circumstances, assume such a request to be an inferior intelligence product devoid of the least effort to provide passable optics of professionalism. While I write this in a lighthearted manner for your entertainment, I find myself insufficient to the task of conveying to you the depth of the gravity of my concern regarding the matters at hand.
As we proceed in future communications to my own confessions of any “money laundering” and any “financing of international terrorism”, please accept these preliminary observations as a professional courtesy in view of the possibility that you are acting in good faith and not with the prestidigitations of those who are merely as clever as serpents. In this communication some requests are also made with the hope that you are trying to be helpful, respecting justice, which is never biased on behalf of one person over against another, never taking advantage of the circumstances of one person and using those unjustly over against another.
The IOR request for the updating of personal details of the (representatives of) clients of the IOR has the inescapably implied motivation of virtue-signaling, with the Holy See (Vatican City State) making the claim in this manner that it has the moral high ground in implementing policies regarding any money laundering and any financing of international terrorism. Perhaps this is an attempt to incite laughter among clients, to be in solidarity with the IOR amidst exasperation with the failures of the Holy See (Vatican City State), failures to which we are all subject in our fallen human nature. And one would laugh, except that it is all so sad.
All are aware that the Holy See (Vatican City State) has been under scrutiny for many decades regarding what is sometimes perceived as malfeasance specifically by way of alleged purposed incompetence resulting in the alleged but equally purposed non-implementation of best-practices. Alleged incompetents and/or malefactors, with the finesse of stilted Romanità, thus proffer an invitation to, or give into logistical demands of criminals leveraging the vice of greed, the fear of extortion, or willing fealty to that which falls under rubrical omertà.
To be detailed below are just a few unavoidable, immediate and irreversible consequences of your sending out an electronic communication (two, within hours, in my case) inescapably implying the possibility that those in reception of that missive may be guilty of money laundering and the financing of international terrorism.
Laudable, predictable interception of such an electronic communication by intelligence services who work for our common security are algorithm-flagged to the end of provoking human intervention. International money laundering and the financing of international terrorism are taken rather seriously in the midst of the always perverted machinations of geopolitical maneuvering and the unfathomable greed and lust for power also of specific individuals. At any rate, it is the discourteous and unprovoked first-instance threat of the freezing of accounts which requires an agent to take certain actions. If you’re willing to provoke a court case with all the discovery that such entails, it must all be quite serious.
While I am very happy that you are applying what might be seen to be merely regularly scheduled due-diligence-policies concerning money laundering and the financing of international terrorism (more on that in a future communication), I’m guessing that you could have refrained from any immediate unprovoked threats of the freezing of any account with IOR, just as you could have refrained from mentioning that investigations into money laundering and the financing of international terrorism is the purpose of these requests for clients to update their individual and unrepeatable details. Surely it would be normal best-practices to request clients to update their details, but without any mention of possible crimes and without any threats, with that simple updating being enough to accomplish your felicitous motivations as good members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, sending along all updated information and activities of all clients, institutional or otherwise, for the verification and review of the OSCE in all of its 57 member countries. The intelligence services of the USA, also a member of the OSCE, are extraordinarily good at what they do, and will immediately notice any anomalies. Apriori purposed alerting of any malefactors seems counterproductive, allowing criminals to use much more care in their answers, allowing them to move funds before the freezing of any accounts. Bad as that is, that’s only the best-case scenario. There are others.
For the intelligence services of the USA, activities wrought by a foreign country on a citizen of the USA that touch on the mere possibility of such crimes related to priority security issues will immediately trigger a surveillance warrant from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C., every time, no exceptions. I’m good with that. My life has always been an open book, particularly with our intelligence services. I’m sure you are aware that any FISA warrant also covers anyone related in any manner to the subject of the warrant, including, in this case, individuals who work at the IOR, along with the IOR institutionally, and anyone who may have ordered such an investigation. But you already know that. This must be a rather grave matter.
Despite my status as a citizen of the USA in good standing, such motivation for an inquiry into priority security issues is enough to have me abruptly detained by our Department of Justice for a more thorough inquisition, effectively having me placed in custody for an indeterminate period, even years. But you knew that before you sent your first communication, didn’t you? I’m happy to cooperate in any such investigation, but I would be dismayed on behalf of Christ’s faithful, who may be bereft of a priest to care for their sacramental needs in my remote parish. Should there be any unfortunate misunderstandings it would be convenient for me to have a contact in the Nunciature in Washington, D.C. who would be able to liaise with our Department of State and our Department of Justice. Might you send me the full contact information of that person?
Despite my status as a Catholic priest in good standing, a pastor of a parish, and a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis, any bishop would be understandably hesitant to tolerate that such a priest under investigation for money laundering and the financing of international terrorism by the Holy See be allowed to continue in active ministry, at least until such investigations are resolved, which could take years or, much more likely, never come to a conclusion. The most likely resulting scenario of your preliminary communication would, in most every (arch)diocese in the world, be that I am removed from public ministry, probably for life. Many in the Church, perhaps hiding ulterior motivations, congratulate themselves by citing the deadly verbiage of the expedience of Caiaphas: “pro bono eccelesiae,” “for the good of the Church.” But you already knew that before you sent your first communication, didn’t you? Again, should there be any unfortunate misunderstandings it would be convenient for me to have a contact in the Nunciature in Washington, D.C. that would be able to liaise with the Holy See with the end of having me placed back in active ministry should I indeed be temporarily removed. Might you send me the full contact information of that person?
However felicitously these circumstances may be resolved, these communications will remain registered as an “incident” in my life history on both ecclesiastical and governmental levels. This may involve harassment getting an ecclesiastical assignment as mentioned above, or even harassment in travel. For instance, is it not likely, even probable, that all fifty seven member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will incorporate my name on a watch list, even a no-fly list? Will I be allowed to return to Italy, to the Vatican, for the upcoming encounter of the Missionaries of Mercy with Pope Francis? But you already knew all the possible repercussions before you sent your first communication, didn’t you?
In expectation of whatever name(s) you may be able to send me of those working in the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington D.C. (previous to my “confessing” any “money laundering” and any “financing of international terrorism”), I ask our Lord to shower His blessings upon you.
Father George David Byers, SSL, STD
Pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis
So, I’ll get into “confessing” “confessions” of any “money laundering” and any “financing of international terrorism” in another post. I have to write that yet. Stay tuned.