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Paul Casimir Marcinkus
January 15, 1922
Cicero, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||February 20, 2006 (aged 84)|
Sun City, Arizona, U.S.
|Occupation||Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church|
Paul Marcinkus (//), GCOIH (January 15, 1922 – February 20, 2006) was an American archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He was best known for his tenure as president of the Vatican Bank from 1971 to 1989.
Marcinkus was born in Cicero, Illinois, the son of an immigrant window cleaner who arrived in Cicero in 1914. His father Mykolas had left Lithuania to escape possible induction into the Russian army. Moving to the United States, he briefly lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before moving to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to work for a cousin as a farm hand, then moving to Cicero after finding work in a Chicago steel mill. By the time his fourth son, Paulius, arrived, he had started cleaning windows for the Leo Sheridan Co., a job he would hold for 30 years.
After attending Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Paul was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 3, 1947, and served parish assignments with both St. Christina's and Holy Cross Church on the city's south side. By 1949, he had been appointed to the archdiocese's matrimonial tribunal, which processed applications to have marriages annulled.
Marcinkus arrived in Rome in 1950 to study canon law at Gregorian University, and began to accept special assignments from the Vatican. Upon earning his degree in 1953, he was asked to stay with the Vatican on a full-time basis, and became friend of Giovanni Battista Montini, who would become pope a decade later. Enrolling in the two-year diplomatic school, Marcinkus was assigned to Bolivia in 1955 and Canada four years later, serving as secretary in the Vatican nunciature in both instances. The titles were the equivalent of a secretary at a foreign embassy.
In December 1959, he returned to Rome to work in the office of the secretariat of state, by which time he had learned enough Italian to serve as an occasional interpreter for Pope John XXIII. With the ascension of Pope Paul VI to the papacy, Marcinkus became the prime English translator, also helping handle the arrangements for the pontiff's overseas trips. In addition, his height and muscular build enabled him to serve as a bodyguard for Paul VI, earning him the nickname "The Gorilla." 
On January 6, 1969, he was consecrated to the episcopate as Titular Archbishop of Horta and Secretary of the Roman Curia. His ferocious protection of the pope was in evidence two months later when he refused to allow Secret Service agents to be present during a private audience between the pontiff and U.S. President Richard Nixon, saying "I'll give you 60 seconds to get out of here or you can explain to the president why the pope could not see him today."
In 1979, Marcinkus was reported as having been targeted by the Red Brigades, a far-left terrorist group, for possible kidnap or assassination after his address and other documents were found in the apartment of two group members, Valerio Morucci and Adriana Faranda.
On September 26, 1981, Marcinkus was appointed Pro-President of Vatican City.
He resigned his position on October 30, 1990.
Vatican bank scandals
Marcinkus was the president of the Institute for the Works of Religion, also known as the Vatican Bank, from 1971 to 1989. As early as April 24, 1973, Marcinkus was questioned in his Vatican office by federal prosecutor William Aronwald and Bill Lynch, head of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the United States Department of Justice, about his involvement in the delivery of $14.5 million U.S. worth of counterfeit bonds to the Vatican in July 1971, part of a total request of $950 million U.S. worth stated in a letter on Vatican notepaper.
His name and the official letter had arisen during the investigation of an international gangster, who eventually served 12 years in prison. Marcinkus "said he considered the charges against him serious but not based enough on fact that he would violate the Vatican Bank's confidentiality to defend himself...back in the States it was agreed on the highest levels that the case against Marcinkus could not be pursued any further." 
In July 1982, Marcinkus was implicated in financial scandals being reported on the front pages of newspapers and magazines throughout Europe, particularly the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano, in which Propaganda Due (aka "P2"), a Masonic Lodge, was involved (Marcinkus had been a director of Ambrosiano Overseas, based in Nassau, Bahamas, and had been involved with Ambrosiano's chairman, financier Roberto Calvi, for a number of years). He also was involved with Michele Sindona, who had links with the Mafia.
Upon the election of Pope John Paul II in 1978, Marcinkus was promoted within the Vatican bank and remained in office for several years before the scandal widened, after the body of Calvi, whose Banco Ambrosiano had dealt with Marcinkus, was found hanging under London's Blackfriars Bridge in June 1982. The death of Calvi was seen by some as symbolic because Propaganda Due referred to themselves as the Black Friars. Adding to the troubles, journalist Mino Pecorelli, who had been investigating Marcinkus, the Vatican Bank and ties to organized crime, was murdered in 1979. Marcinkus himself was never charged with a crime.
He stepped aside as head of the Vatican Bank soon after, with a board of laymen assuming control of the bank. The Vatican eventually paid £145 million in a settlement with creditors, with Marcinkus observing in 1986 that: "You can't run the Church on Hail Marys."  Marcinkus later said that he was misquoted, what he actually said was: "When my workers come to retire they expect a pension; it's no use my saying to them. 'I'll pay you 400 Hail Marys." 
In 1984, Marcinkus was named by investigative journalist David Yallop in his book In God's Name as a possible accomplice in the supposed murder of Pope John Paul I. Yallop made allegations regarding a number of suspects, involving the Mafia and Freemasonry.
In 2008, the case of a missing person was reopened with claims by Sabrina Minardi, a former girlfriend of the boss of the Banda della Magliana gang, Enrico De Pedis. She said that Emanuela Orlandi, daughter of a Vatican employee, was kidnapped on orders of Marcinkus to send a message, and was later killed.
Later life and death
He returned to the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1990 before retiring to Arizona, where he lived as an assistant parish priest. He declined to discuss his role in the Ambrosiano scandal. Archbishop Marcinkus died in Sun City, Arizona, aged 84, of undisclosed causes.
Marcinkus was played by actor Rutger Hauer in the Italian film The Bankers of God. In Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather Part III, actor Donal Donnelly portrayed Archbishop Gilday, a character based on Marcinkus.
- Archbishop Marcinkus, 84, Banker at the Vatican, Dies, New York Times, February 22 2006
- Archbishop Paul Casimir Marcinkus [Catholic-Hierarchy]
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- May 25, 1986, Observer, London
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