Tag Archives: Economics

The Tycoon on the Tiber

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “Prophets and Profits XIII:”

This writer foresees the day, perhaps a thousand years from now, when the Vatican will cease functioning as a religious institution and take up, on a full-time basis, the duties of a large-scale business corporation. The transition will not be as difficult to effectuate as one might suspect. For just as Catholicism will decline and eventually withdraw from the ranks of the major religions, so, too, will Church money find its way into nearly every area of the free world’s economy. Then, at last, the tycoon on the Tiber will shed the mantle of piety; then, at last, the Vatican will expose the full extent of its financial interests.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/14/

No One is Justified in Keeping

(Except for the Vatican, of course):

“Private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute and unconditional right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities”

~Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “Prophets and Profits XIII,” http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/14/

No More Sinful Than The Collecting Of Coins

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “There’s No Business Like Vatican Business VIII:”

The foregoing details provide an uncomfortably sharp realization that the Vatican and its men have indeed carved a niche for their firm in the world of big business.

This is no small accomplishment. After years of soul- searching, it has been decided, infallibly, that the accumulation of money is no more reprehensible, no more sinful, than the collecting of coins. True, the Vatican pays ad perpetuum lip service to poverty. But it doesn’t practice it.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/9/

In Swiss Vaults

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “There’s No Business Like Vatican Business VIII:”

Vatican banking, however, is not confined to Italy. Funds managed by the Vatican’s Prefecture of Economic Affairs are deposited in numerous non-Italian banks. Some are in America, and many are in Switzerland, where the Vatican maintains its funds in numbered accounts. Nobody really knows how much money the Vatican has in Swiss vaults. But it is known that one reason why the Vatican likes to bank in Switzerland is because the Swiss franc can provide protection against inflation and devaluation of money in other countries. Since 1945, there have been more than 170 currency devaluations all over the world—twelve of them in Brazil alone. Unlike the American dollar or the British pound, which have substantially less than 50 percent backing in gold reserves, the Swiss franc is guaranteed up to 130 percent by gold. So, because Switzerland’s money is “hard money,” the Vatican holds the francs and exchanges them for the legal tender of another country when needed.

The Vatican also uses its Swiss accounts to maintain its anonymity when gaining control of foreign corporations. Swiss banks, unlike American banks, can act as stockbrokers; they hold large numbers of shares belonging to clients but not in the clients’ names. The Vatican, like any other depositor, can have a Swiss bank buy shares in a company in the bank’s name and can thus obtain control of the company in full anonymity. The “Gnomes of Zurich”*—a pet name pinned on Swiss banking officials by the British—point out, however, that the total number of shares their banks hold in U.S. companies is less than 1 percent of America’s outstanding stock. Any speculation about how much the Vatican may have silently invested in the U.S. economy, at least at the corporation level, must take this figure into account.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/9/

*this reminds me of Harry Potter’s goblins of Gringott’s

Without the Help and Good Will of Italy

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “Behind the Walls III:”

Although most prices within the Vatican walls on items of food are concomitant with those of the neighboring country, and geared to Rome’s accelerated cost of living, general expenses are much lower. Vatican housekeepers, at least half of whom are males, do most of their grocery shopping on the grounds—but it’s necessary to go into Rome for such things as clothing, electrical appliances, and other durable goods. Sources in Rome supply the Vatican with its water and its electric power, while the Vatican’s so-called sanitation system empties into the Roman sewers. Without the help and good will of Italy, and especially of Rome, the non-self-sufficient Vatican would be unable to function efficiently.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/4/

A Clue is Provided by the Names of the Board of Directors

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “The Pope’s Shop II:”

A clue as to whether Vatican penetration has taken place within a given company is usually provided by the names of the members of the board of directors. Industrial corporations and holding companies often expose Church interest by listing, in one capacity or another, the names of known Vatican agents. “Agents” is perhaps not the happiest word to describe the members of the Vatican’s inner lay circle, but it best indicates the purpose they serve. Whenever a “Vatican name” appears on the board of directors of a utility, for example, investigation will almost invariably bring out the fact that the Vatican holds a minor, or even a major, interest in that organization. Often the prestige of the “agent’s” name gives a reporter his first indication of the extent of the Vatican’s interest.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/3/

A Decided Information Gap

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “The Pope’s Shop II:”

On the delicate subject of Vatican finances, there is a decided information gap, for persons on the inside as well as for those on the outside. The Vatican has wanted it that way. It has not wanted to organize its affairs so that any single individual could, during the course of his workday, piece together the total picture of its infinitely ramified financial operations. Apparently, only one person has been privileged to see this picture. His name was Bernardino Nogara.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/3/

The Visible Tip of the Financial Iceberg

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “The Pope’s Shop II:”

The ostensible wealth of the 108.7-acre enclave inside the sturdy Leonine Walls—the magnificent church buildings, the land, the many thousands of art treasures and precious manuscripts—serves only as the visible tip of the financial iceberg. The largest chunk of the Vatican’s empire lies below the surface. There it continues to grow, in spite of changing currents. Once, after World War I, the Vatican nearly went bankrupt. At every other time in its history, the Church has had a golden touch and has protected its investments wisely in almost every field of economic endeavor—not only in Italy but also in several other countries, including the United States and Canada.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/3/

It Belonged To The Vatican

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “Some Preliminary Words I:”

…The tank for our apartment held sixty gallons of water, and it filled during the night at a speed that was determined by the water governor, which was kept under lock by Acqua Marcia. By dawn, with no one having used the faucets, the tank would usually be replenished, and for that day we would have water—provided we didn’t use all sixty gallons too soon. This meant not flushing the toilet after every visit. It also meant not taking a bath in more than two inches of water.

I didn’t know during those first arduous weeks that the Acqua Marcia company belonged to the Vatican.

…The flow of gas in our stove was so limited that only two burners functioned at the same time, and for a reasonably steady flame she [the author’s wife] had to resort to one burner….

I didn’t know then that our gas company also belonged to the Vatican.

In lodging my various complaints and pleas for help, I had to use the phone a great deal. Unhappily, my telephone suffered from a variety of speech defects…

I didn’t know then that our telephone company was also largely controlled by the Vatican. Later I was to discover that the building in which I lived belonged to a front company operating for the Vatican and that the same company owned the entire block of houses on both sides of the street.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/

Leica and the Jews

This was sent to me as part of a chain e-mail and I found it edifying.  There is no known author to this article, but the information in it appears to be true.  Wikipedia has an article on the “Leica Freedom Train” that you can also read.


Leica-I IMG 0215

The Leica is the pioneer 35mm camera. It is a German product – precise, minimalist, and utterly efficient.

Behind its worldwide acceptance as a creative tool was a family-owned, socially oriented firm that, during the Nazi era, acted with uncommon grace, generosity and modesty. E. Leitz Inc., designer and manufacturer of Germany ‘s most famous photographic product, saved its Jews.

And Ernst Leitz II, the steely-eyed Protestant patriarch who headed the closely held firm as the Holocaust loomed across Europe, acted in such a way as to earn the title, “the photography industry’s Schindler.”

As soon as Adolf Hitler was named chancellor of Germany in 1933, Ernst Leitz II began receiving frantic calls from Jewish associates, asking for his help in getting them and their families out of the country. As Christians, Leitz and his family were immune to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg laws, which restricted the movement of Jews and limited their professional activities.

To help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as “the Leica Freedom Train,” a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas.

Employees, retailers, family members, even friends of family members were “assigned” to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and the United States, Leitz’s activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November 1938, during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across Germany.

Before long, German “employees” were disembarking from the ocean liner Bremen at a New York pier and making their way to the Manhattan office of Leitz Inc., where executives quickly found them jobs in the photographic industry.

Each new arrival had around his or her neck the symbol of freedom – a new Leica camera.

The refugees were paid a stipend until they could find work. Out of this migration came designers, repair technicians, salespeople, marketers and writers for the photographic press.

Keeping the story quiet The “Leica Freedom Train” was at its height in 1938 and early 1939,delivering groups of refugees to New York every few weeks. Then, with the invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany closed its borders.

By that time, hundreds of endangered Jews had escaped to America, thanks to the Leitzes’ efforts. How did Ernst Leitz II and his staff get away with it?

Leitz, Inc. was an internationally recognized brand that reflected credit on the newly resurgent Reich. The company produced cameras, range-finders and other optical systems for the German military. Also, the Nazi government desperately needed hard currency from abroad, and Leitz’s single biggest market for optical goods was the United States.

Even so, members of the Leitz family and firm suffered for their good works. A top executive, Alfred Turk, was jailed for working to help Jews and freed only after the payment of a large bribe.

Leitz’s daughter, Elsie Kuhn-Leitz, was imprisoned by the Gestapo after she was caught at the border, helping Jewish women cross into Switzerland . She eventually was freed but endured rough treatment in the course of questioning. She also fell under suspicion when she attempted to improve the living conditions of 700 to 800 Ukrainian slave laborers, all of them women, who had been assigned to work in the plant during the 1940s. (After the war, Kuhn-Leitz received numerous honors for her humanitarian efforts, among them the Officer d’honneur des Palms Academic from France in 1965 and the Aristide Briand Medal from the European Academy in the 1970s.)

Why has no one told this story until now? According to the late Norman Lipton, a freelance writer and editor, the Leitz family wanted no publicity for its heroic efforts. Only after the last member of the Leitz family was dead did the “Leica Freedom Train” finally come to light.

It is now the subject of a book, “The Greatest Invention of the Leitz Family: The Leica Freedom Train,” by Frank Dabba Smith, a California-born Rabbi currently living in England .

Thank you for reading the above, and if you feel inclined as I did to pass it along to others, please do so. It only takes a few minutes.

Memories of the righteous should live on.