The Guardian, 21 January 2013:

But these office blocks in one of London's most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.

Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church's international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.


The surprising aspect for some will be the lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions.

Did the Vatican receive millions from Mussolini and use it to built a secret property empire, and, also, tried to hide the ownership of all those properties?

  • Are you asking whether the Vatican really said 'no comment' or of the ownership of the property and the source of the funds?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 14:22
  • Hello @Odd, this time I will not delete the question. However, I'm asking if the Vatican preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions in correlation with the ownership of that property. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 14:36
  • 1
    (I am afraid I don't have time to edit the question now, or to follow-up on this discussion making it clearer for Carlo. Does anyone else want to help explain that the question is unclear? That one claim is that the Vatican has "Mussolini millions", and that another claim (in the quote) is that they are making no comment on it. The latter is largely uninteresting, surely? The former requires a better title and edit of the quote.)
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 21:22
  • I've rewritten the question to be about both, the existence of the millions from Mussoulini and whether the Vatican tried to hide their existence.
    – Mad Scientist
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 9:29
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    Your bounty question makes it look like you are looking for sources for some sort of conspiracy or agreement between Mussolini and the Vatican? Mussolini didn't like the catholic church in his early years, but he knew that, especially in Italy, you need the Catholic church's support to have control over the country. He even remarried for the church and had his children baptized in order to show them he was a "true" Catholic himself. Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 7:00

1 Answer 1


The answer is "No". The Vatican did not build a secret property empire, they did this openly, and they did use the millions they received from Mussolini.

In this official Vatican reaction in the Telegraph.co.uk to the secret property article in the Guardian.co.uk, the Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi explaines:

The money was compensation, issued under the Lateran Accords of 1929, for the properties the Vatican lost in the Papal States, such as the Quirinal Palace in Rome, which has since become the residence of the Italian President.

and said:

"This article reveals nothing that was not known already," he commented. "The fact that Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See has a special section [for real estate] is even recorded in the Vatican telephone exchange."

So the money was received by the Italian state, which was under control by the fascist regime of Mussolini at the time. But, there was a lot more than just money involved in this deal. This deal made the Vatican an official country again, catholicism the official Italian religion and much more. Here is a great article about "How the Lateran Treaty made the Catholic Church into a state"

Similar deals (Concordats) were made around the world between countries and the Vatican. The Italian Lateran Treaty (1929) was controversial, but even more so was the deal with Germany in 1933 with the Nazi regime known as the Reichskonkordat (1933)

Both deals pretty much gave moral support and legitimacy to the fascists party in Europe in the 1930's and all the horrors that happened the following 15 years. Though, never official of course, but pope Pius XII's (and the Vatican's) role during, and the years leading up to, WWII remains controversial.

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