Catholic World News Service
Daily News Briefs
JULY 29, 1997
* US AMBASSADOR DERIDES CLAIMS OF VATICAN-NAZI GOLD CONNECTION
* ABUSE CHARGES AGAINST TEXAS PRIEST DISMISSED
* LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS INVESTIGATE SCIENTOLOGY IN CLASSROOMS
* PERUVIAN ARCHBISHOP COMMENTS ON POLITICAL CRISIS
* RUSSIAN OFFICIAL SEES NO RIFT WITH ORTHODOX CHURCH
* LATINO PRESENCE AT WORLD YOUTH DAY DESCRIBED
US AMBASSADOR DERIDES CLAIMS OF VATICAN-NAZI GOLD CONNECTION
VATICAN CITY (CWN) The US ambassador to the Vatican sent a letter to President Bill Clinton on last week telling him that accusations that the Vatican hid gold for Croatian fascists after World War II are weak.
Ambassador Raymond Flynn also emphasized that the Catholic Church must be presumed innocent rather than immediately believe allegations based on four-decade-old rumors. Clinton had said last week that the US Treasury Department was reviewing World War II-era documents to determine the Vatican's involvement in the transfer of funds stolen from Nazi victims. The original allegations were made in a Treasury document uncovered by a documentary film crew.
In Flynn's letter, dated July 24, he says he met with Vatican officials and agrees with them that the case against the Holy See is weak. Of the 15 million pages of documents in the National Archives related to Nazi gold, so far only one mentions the Vatican, Flynn says in a point-by-point defense of the Church. This single document's claims of Vatican involvement are vague, lacking details of when, where, how and who. The (1946) letter's claims are based on an anonymous 'reliable source in Italy' and on 'rumor'.
The former mayor of Boston urged Clinton not to let the United States become a party to an unjustified attack on [the Catholic Church's] reputation of good name. In the previously-classified 1946 document, Pearson Bigelow of the Treasury Department writes to the department's director of monetary research that pro-Nazi Croatian fascists kept about 200 million Swiss francs from Yugoslavia at the end of the war, and that source in Italy told him the Vatican held it and may have funneled it to Spain and Argentina.
[other news items deleted for brevity ... JP]