VATICAN CITY – The Vatican is facing another financial headache after donors to a major U.S. Catholic foundation balked at a request from Pope Francis to foot a $25 million loan to a scandal-plagued Rome hospital.
The Immaculate Institute for Dermatology made headlines in 2013 when prosecutors discovered a nearly $1 billion hole in its accounts and placed 40 people, including its priestly director, under investigation for alleged money laundering, fraudulent bankruptcy and other crimes. In May, prosecutors handed down 24 indictments.
The Vatican took over the hospital rather than let it fail, fearing for the livelihoods of its staff. But the hospital has struggled, and last summer the Vatican asked for a bridge loan from the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, a major source of funding for the Vatican's charity works around the globe.