Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Vatican City, 18 July 2012 (VIS) - Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with State, today presented a briefing to journalists in the Holy See Press Office concerning the publication of the first Mutual Evaluation Report on the Holy See and on Vatican City State ("MONEYVAL Report") regarding adherence to the 40 + IX FATF recommendations against money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). Msgr. Balestrero was head of the Holy See delegation to the plenary session of MONEYVAL held in Strasbourg, France, on 4 July.
Extracts from Msgr. Balestrero's English-language presentation are given below:
"Vatican City State has a very small territory, with a small population, a very low level of domestic crime and no market economy. It is not a financial centre and its financial activities are meant to support its works of charity and of religion. However the Holy See enjoys a recognised moral voice and in this sense is deeply connected not only with its immediate neighbours, but with all countries of the world. Moreover the Holy See, as primarily responsible for the universal mission of the Church, has a special ability - even duty - to guide and orient Catholic religious organisations throughout the world. While those organisations exist within their own civil jurisdictions and are bound to follow the laws of those jurisdictions on AML/CFT issues, it is important that the Holy See use its moral authority to raise maximum awareness about the far too frequent transnational crime of money laundering and the financing of terrorism".
Beginning along the path and first accomplishments
"There has always been a clear determination to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as a legal system that already had several of the elements necessary to tackle ML/FT problems.
"At the end of 2010, we passed an AML/CFT law and requested evaluation in February 2011 by MONEYVAL. Our law came into force on 1 April 2011. Our Financial Intelligence Authority was operational by June. In November 2011, we received our first MONEYVAL on-site visit. The team of our evaluators was widely considered to be perhaps the strongest team MONEYVAL had ever assembled. It included the president, the secretary and an administrator of MONEYVAL, the president of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, two senior financial experts and a professor of international law".
Revision of the First AML/CFT Legislation
"Based on the preliminary remarks of the evaluators in November, it became apparent that the first version of the law, while representing an important effort at proper legislation, contained gaps and other difficulties that needed to be addressed in order to move forward.
"All jurisdictions that receive an on-site visit are given two months to introduce changes in their legislation, that will be included in the evaluation report. Within this time frame, on 25 January 2012, a new law was introduced that provided for more effective cooperation among the Vatican authorities involved in the prevention and countering of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The new law stressed the importance of their mutual connections and the need to better allocate their respective competences in order to establish a stronger and more sustainable AML/CFT system".
The present AML/CFT system
"Some of the more important elements of the current AML/CFT regime include:
"- The establishment of a risk-based approach to AML/CFT work, particularly in regard to the identification of suspicious transactions.
"- Enhanced emphasis on international cooperation, including full exchange of information with foreign counterparts. And I stress that this includes exchange of information including information prior to 1 April 2011.
"- Laws relating to financial institution secrecy are consistent with international standards.
"- The criminal law is significantly improved, by providing a comprehensive definition of money laundering, and an array of predicate crimes in line with international standards, as well as the criminalisation of the financing of terrorism.
"- The power of the courts to prosecute money laundering, financing of terrorism, and its predicate crimes, as well as to freeze and confiscate the proceeds of ML/FT activity has been strengthened.
"- The sanctions for failure to fulfil AML/CFT requirements are enhanced and made applicable to legal persons.
"- Entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a requirement for the exchange of financial information with financial intelligence units from other States. We pledge this to be an effective and reliable tool for exchanging information on the basis of reciprocity with those jurisdictions that are also committed to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
"- The power of the AML/FT supervisor to perform an inspection of any financial institution is made explicit and the law provides for the creation of a specific and detailed regulation upon the basis of which that inspection could be conducted.
"In addition, the Holy See, acting also on behalf of Vatican City State, has ratified the following Conventions: the Vienna Convention against Illicit Traffic on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988); the New York Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999), and the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (2000).
"These Conventions are immediately applicable in our legal system, without any further need to implement legislation regarding extradition and cooperation.
"In addition, the area of international cooperation was carefully assessed The findings of the evaluators were that the current system of the Holy See and of Vatican City State is largely compliant with international standards".
Areas Where Evaluators Noted a Need for Improvement
"We are aware that, like other jurisdictions, some areas of the Vatican’s systems to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism still need to improve. After the new law was adopted in January, we addressed many of these issues in the course of our continuing exchanges with the evaluators. Other issues will be addressed expeditiously and giving proof of effectiveness. For example:
"- There are some concerns expressed in the report regarding the use of an MOU to establish the basis for international cooperation between financial intelligence units. We feel that the adoption of this requirement, which is in line with international standards, represents the right approach for the Vatican which, as a smaller jurisdiction, wishes to interact on fair and fully reciprocal terms with other countries. Indeed, this is a common choice made by many jurisdictions, including New Zealand, Canada, Australia and others; nor is this choice disfavored by such noted FATF members as the United States.
"- The Pontifical Commission is mandated by the law to provide for a regulation permitting the AML/CFT supervisor to perform on-site inspections. The evaluators note that until such a regulation becomes law, the supervisor's inspection powers are not yet defined. We agree. That regulation, which is already being drafted, will reflect our seriousness of purpose.
"- The report notes that the original structure of a Financial Intelligence Authority, which combines the financial intelligence unit function and the regulatory functions of a supervisor, appears to create difficulties. This structure of the FIA, which concentrated all AML intelligence and supervision, was inherited from the first version of the law. It was retained in the second version of the law. The evaluators have expressed certain scepticism as to its 'workability'. We are grateful for this observation which we take seriously.
"- The report notes that conflicts of interest may arise due to the same person working at the same time as a supervisor and in one of the supervised entities".
Next Steps After Passing the New Law
"After adoption of the present law, the Holy See has continued to improve its anti-money- laundering system. Above all, the Holy See and the Vatican authorities have moved from shorter-term solutions to the creation of long term, sustainable and effective solutions; and will continue to do.
"For example, after 25 January, that is after the above mentioned period of two months following the first on-site visit:
"- The Holy Sere established and implemented a terrorist list in line with the measures required by the United Nations Security Council.
"- We have officially applied to join the Egmont Group, which is the internationally accredited group of Financial Intelligence Units formed to favour rapid and reciprocal exchanges of information.
"- Through the execution of memoranda of understanding, we have expeditiously moved to insert our own financial intelligence authority into the international network of financial intelligence units.
"- As mentioned, the Commission of Cardinals for Vatican City State is in the process of adopting an inspection regulation.
"- We have initiated further revision of our criminal law, with a view to further modernise its provisions in light of international standards.
"- Shortly we will complete our risk assessment.
"- We are considering ratification of other crime fighting conventions and new legislation regarding non-profit organisations".
"We have taken a definitive step to lay the foundations to a structure - a house if you will - that is to a robust and sustainable system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Now it is our wish to fully construct a building that effectively shows the Holy See’s and Vatican City State’s desire to be a reliable partner in the international community".


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Many news sources have reported that Syria's Defense Minister,
Dawood Rajiha(above), and Deputy Minister, Assef Shawkat(below), were killed on Wednesday, July 17, 2012 from a suicide bomb.

The explosiion occurred in the National Security Building which is located in the capital of Damascus. Assef is the brother-in-law of the President Assad. The rebels have claimed responsibility. Many members of the political party have defected recently. Increasing violence has led to many massacres over the past few months.


Mahoumoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance takes 39 seats out of 80. Muslim Brotherhood fare badly only winning 17 seats. The Assembly composition to be decided in coming days through coalition between the 120 independent candidates and parties.

Tripoli (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A progressive coalition has won the first democratic elections in Libyan history. The National Forces Alliance (NFA) of Jibril Mohamoud, former Prime Minister of the National Transitional Council, has won 39 seats in the Constituent Assembly of the 80 reserved for political parties. Surprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood received short shrift by winning only 17 seats. The remaining 120 seats in the Assembly are reserved for independent candidates.

Despite the clear NFA victory over the Islamist formation the composition of the Assembly tasked to write a new post-Gaddafi constitution remains uncertain. Experts say everything will be decided by the alliances between the independents and parties, where the Muslim Brothers claim to be favorites.

In the election on July 7 last there were over 100 political parties, many of which were born only in recent months. The European Union sent observers to monitor the proper conduct of the vote which saw a turnout of about 62% of those eligible. The euphoria of the election, however, was marred by several attacks and clashes between security forces and militia groups in favor of the partition of the country. They have repeatedly put at risk the smooth running of the vote. One person was killed during an attack on Ajdabiya (North East of Libya).

The future Constituent Assembly will have legislative powers and will stay in force for at least a year. Then elections will be held to choose the first democratic government after 40 years of dictatorship. The last free vote was in 1952, soon after independence from Italy.



Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
18 Jul 2012

CatholicCare's foster
program tries to keep
siblings together
The main focus of the NSW Government's sweeping reforms to the foster care system is to restore children to their families, wherever possible, and prevent children coming into care in the first place, says Maureen Eagles, Director of CatholicCare's Family, Youth and Children's Services.
CatholicCare, the Archdiocese of Sydney's welfare agency has been at the forefront of out of home care since 1941.
Currently, the agency has 80 trained, experienced foster families across the city providing emergency, temporary, short term or long term care to vulnerable children and young people at risk.
On any one day throughout the year there are at least 39 children staying with CatholicCare foster families. These children range from babies through to young teenagers. Some need care for just a night or two or a week while a single parent is in hospital and has no one to look after her youngsters. Others may remain in care for several months while for others depending on circumstances at home, out-of-home care can last a year or more or in some cases become permanent.
Whether the foster care offered is short, medium or long term CatholicCare caseworkers are in constant touch with each foster family and each of the children or teenagers in their care.

Maureen Eagles Director
of CatholicCare's Family
Youth & Children's Services
"Getting a child back with their family is best, wherever possible," Maureen says. "Once safety issues are dealt with, and the viability of returning children to their families assessed, the aim of our programs is to try to get the child back home. Then by working closely with these families we can help resolve issues and give them the support they need to ensure the best outcome for the child."
In some instances it may not be possible or safe for the child to be returned to their family, but Maureen says for the large majority this is not the case. Like many others in the field, is convinced that by working with the whole family will not only help reduce the number of young people needing out of home care but transform the entire system.
CatholicCare along with welfare agencies such as Anglicare, Barnardo's, Uniting Care, the Salvation Army, Burnside, the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA) and the NSW Department of Community Services are working closely together to implement reforms to the state's foster care system and give all children in foster care the best outcome possible.

Restoring out of home care
children to their families
wherever possible delivers
the best outcomes
The first stage of reforms to the system began last week when the NSW Government began the transfer of care of 6800 children from the Department of Community Services to 38 qualified accredited non-government child welfare agencies. Under this new model, and taking place over a four year period, the private sector will be responsible for all foster care in NSW, freeing up the Department of Community Services to concentrate on the all-important "forensic" work of protecting at-risk children.
The decision to outsource foster care to non-government agencies was triggered by the 2008 Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services by Justice James Wood which found the non government sector had "smaller less formalised management structures" and a "greater capacity to implement t reforms and innovative service models more quickly than government agencies."
At the time of the Inquiry, 14,000 children were living in out of home care, a far higher number than in Queensland or Victoria where the welfare system had been overhauled and much of the responsibility for out of home care handed over to the private sector.
"Governments don't know it all and can't do it all," NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, Pru Goward said last week when announcing the start of the transfer of children in foster care from the State to non-government agencies and added that the "nimbleness and flexibility" of these agencies would enable caseworkers to be assigned to every child in foster care, something that had not been possible under state bureaucracy due to red tape.

Foster Mums Open their Hearts and Homes to
children in need
This month CatholicCare will take responsibility for a number of former Department of Community Services children currently in foster care with the agency's caseworkers overseeing and liaising with the families with whom they've been placed.
At this stage there are no plans, nor any reason, to move the children from the foster families who are caring for them. But as non-government agencies takes over full responsibility for the sector over the next four years, and CatholicCare increases its number of placements using its own experienced and trained foster families ,more foster families as well as additional caseworkers may be needed.
"Foster care and working with families makes up an important and enduring part of our services and we are delighted to be able to expand our foster care programs and ensure positive outcomes for children, youth and families," says CatholicCare CEO, Bernard Boerma says.
For mothers and their families who are interested in becoming foster carers contact Andree Borc or Bernadette Ahern at CatholicCare on 02-8709 933.
For those who wish to find out more about CatholicCare's Family Youth and Children's Services, log on to and click on "Children & Youth Services."


Poland: young Catholics protest against Madonna concert | Madonna, Poland

No to Madonna concert
A group of young Catholics in Poland has launched an online petition calling for the cancellation of a Madonna concert at Warsaw's National Stadium on 1 August.
The day marks the commemoration of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis during which more than 200,000 people were killed. Special Masses are held each year and at 5pm sirens wail before the city comes to a standstill for a minute's silence.
The young protesters are also angry at the 53 year-old pop star's on-stage antics which have recently included burning crucifixes, posing on a cross, wearing a crown of thorns and making obscene gestures with other religious objects. More than 33,000 people have signed the petition to date.
A spokesperson for the tour promoter LiveNation, said yesterday that the concert would be going ahead, but in response to the protests there would be a screening of a two minute film about the Warsaw Uprising before the start of the concert.
To see the petition go to:


Matthew 11: 25 - 27

25 At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;
26 yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.


St. Bruno of Segni
Feast: July 18
Benedictine bishop, serving as Vatican librarian and cardinal legate. Born in Asti (Solero), Italy, in 1049, Bruno became a Benedictine while still young, and in 1079, Pope St. Gregory VII (r. 1073 - 1085) appointed him bishop of Segni. He left that see to reenter the monastic-life, becoming the abbot of Monte Cassino. Burno served as librarian to the Holy Roman See and as cardinal legate. Bruno's theologial work on teh Holy Eucharist set the standard for centuries. He was canonized in 1183.


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