by Christopher Rails CARDINAL HUME said last weekend that he believed the Vatican had nothing to hide over the Banco Ambrosiano affair.
In an interview with the BBC correspondent David Willey on last Sunday's "World at One" programme on Radio 4, Cardinal Hume spoke about the extraordinary meeting of cardinals which took place in Rome last week and included discussion on the Vatican's financial crisis.
He said there had been "very great anxiety on the role of the Church in this matter." The Holy See had appointed three financial experts of international repute, followed by a fourth expert from Germany.
Last Friday Pope John Paul said the Holy See will cooperate with Italian officials who are investigating the affair. Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York said in an interview that the experts would form the nucleus of a new five-man advisory board for the 10R.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Cardinal Hume said it was quite wrong to describe the IOR (the Institute for Religious Works) as the "Vatican Bank". It was an institution managed by the Vatican which handled the investments of religious orders. "It is not concerned with the administration of the finances of Vatican City, nor does it handle the contributions of the faithful throughout the world, which we in this country call Peter's Pence" he said.
' There had been a longstanding relationship between the IOR and the Banco Ambrosiano. "The present situation arose as a result of the trust which the IOR had in the Banco Ambrosiano and which was abused. This has been admitted by the authorities in Rome" he continued.
Cardinal Hume emphasised that the cardinals had also discussed the new code of Canon Law and the Roman curia.