A deeply reported, New York Times bestselling exposé of the money and the clerics-turned-financiers at the heart of the Vatican—the world’s biggest, most powerful religious institution—from an acclaimed journalist with “exhaustive research techniques” (The New York Times).
From a master chronicler of legal and financial misconduct, a magnificent investigation nine years in the making, God’s Bankers traces the political intrigue of the Catholic Church in “a meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican’s legendary, enabling secrecy” (Kirkus Reviews). Decidedly not about faith, belief in God, or religious doctrine, this book is about the church’s accumulation of wealth and its byzantine financial entanglements across the world. Told through 200 years of prelates, bishops, cardinals, and the Popes who oversee it all, Gerald Posner uncovers an eyebrow-raising account of money and power in one of the world’s most influential organizations.
God’s Bankers has it all: a revelatory and astounding saga marked by poisoned business titans, murdered prosecutors, and mysterious deaths written off as suicides; a carnival of characters from Popes and cardinals, financiers and mobsters, kings and prime ministers; and a set of moral and political circumstances that clarify not only the church’s aims and ambitions, but reflect the larger tensions of more recent history. And Posner even looks to the future to surmise if Pope Francis can succeed where all his predecessors failed: to overcome the resistance to change in the Vatican’s Machiavellian inner court and to rein in the excesses of its seemingly uncontrollable financial quagmire. “As exciting as a mystery thriller” (Providence Journal), this book reveals with extraordinary precision how the Vatican has evolved from a foundation of faith to a corporation of extreme wealth and power.
Posner (Miami Babylon) uses his superlative investigative skills to craft a fascinating and comprehensive look at the dark side of the Catholic Church, documenting "how money, and accumulating and fighting over it, has been a dominant theme in the history of the Catholic Church and its divine mission." He opens with the various spiritually creative methods the Church has used to make ends meet, such as the sale of indulgences and Pope Urban II's offer of full absolution to those who volunteered to fight in the Crusades. The bulk of the book focuses on the mid-20th century and includes the Papacy's accommodations to the Nazis. While this is familiar terrain, Posner convincingly buttresses his unusual position that money swayed Pope Pius XII "to remain silent in the face of overwhelming evidence of mass murder." And the author's access to previously undisclosed documents enables him to flesh out the Vatican Bank scandal, which reached its nadir with the mysterious hanging from London's Blackfriars Bridge of Italian banker and convicted fraudster Roberto Calvi. Accessible and well written, Posner's is the definitive history of the topic to date.