The Vatican Says “No” to Plastic

January 4, 2013 | Irina Dvalidze

The Holy City has a seriously unholy plight to deal with nowadays. Starting this Wednesday, visitors to the Vatican have not been able to use credit and debit cards for purchases due to a new decision by Italy’s central bank, brought on by concerns over inadequate money laundering.

Italy’s central bank has refused clearance to Deutsche Bank’s Italian unit causing all cash machines to shut down, clearing all service from within the Vatican walls. Has the Vatican been involved in something shady? Reuters explains:

The Bank of Italy could not give the authorization because the Vatican, apart from not respecting money-laundering regulation, did not have the legal prerequisites.

Controversy surrounds the entire affair. It’s not often that the banking system freezes all actions around a organization of such mythic proportions. Even Pope Benedict XVI is concerned, hiring a Swiss expert in money laundering controls René Brülhart to shed light on the Vatican Bank’s transactions.

According to a report from Moneyval, a European financial warden, the Vatican has been failing nearly half the required criteria of financial transparency instituted by the banks. Dan Brown? Your serve.