10 September 2015, The Tablet

Follow the money

by John Pollard

God’s Bankers: a history of money and power at the VaticanGERALD POSNER In seeking to expose the relationship between the Vatican’s finances and its exercise of power, Gerald Posner sets himself an ambitious task. While he tells a gripping and at times disturbing story, God’s Bankers is stronger on narrative than analysis. There are irritating factual inaccuracies. Posner talks, for example, of an “Italian Prime Minister” in 1796, over half a century before there was unified Italian state (p.11); Egypt was “an Italian colony” (p.36); and “98 per cent of Poland’s (pre-war) thirty million ­inhabitants were Catholic” (p.85) – Poland’s population in 1939 was 35 million, of whom three million were Jews, most of whom
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