From Desmond O'Grady in Rome THE ITALIAN Government has asked the Vatican to "assume its responsibilities" regarding the crisis of the Ambrosian Bank, as pressure on Vatican "bank" director Archbishop Marcinkus mounted dramatically this week.
The Christian Democrat Minister for the Treasury, Nino Andreatta, told Parliament on July 2 that the Government expected the Institute for the Works of Religion (the Vatican Bank) to assume its responsibilities for operations in which it seems to be, in fact, a partner of the Ambrosiano Bank. On the evening before the Parliamentary declaration. Andreatta had meetings in the Vatican with secretariat of state officials. On the day Andreatta addressed Parliament, the Bank of Italy commissioners who have taken over the Ambrosiano Bank met Vatican bank officials. The upshot of these meetings is not known.
The commissioners were appointed after the disappearance of the Abrosiano Bank's chairman Roberto Calvi, whose body was found under Blackfriars Bridge, London.
On May 31 the Bank of Italy had asked Calvi's bank to account for 1.4 billion dollars in debt and interest charges incurred by four subsidiaries' since 1978. The Ambrosiano is Italy's largest private bank group.
The Vatican Bank controls only 1.68 per cent of the Ambrosiano, but it is believed that its involvement in the Ambrosiano's operations go beyond this.
The Treasury Minister's statement adds to the pressure for more open Vatican financial management and for transfer of the Vatican Bank's head, the American Archbishop Paul Marcinkus.
Some consider it simply unfortunate that Marcinkus' two friends, Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi, should turn out to be crooks as well as members of a secret Free Masonic Lodge and linked to the Mafia.