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Italian Police Senior Vatican Cleric for Allegedly Smuggling Millions of Dollars


A Swiss guard at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. (Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Italian police have arrested a senior Catholic cleric, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano.

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He's accused of attempting to smuggle millions of dollars in cash into Italy from Switzerland for a family friend.

Scarano is also a senior accountant in the Vatican's financial administration.

"It's bad news and good news," says journalist Thomas Reese. Reese is senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter, and author of "Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church." He's also a Jesuit priest.

"The bad news is that this Monsignor is being accused of these crimes," says Reese. "The good news is that they are being investigated."

Reese says this will send a powerful signal to others in the Vatican that "the party is over," and that financial crimes will not be tolerated.