More on Vatican City Ivory Raids

More on the recent raids on Italy’s Ivory shops, from Italian newspaper, La Repubblica:

Per Google translate:

            THE CASE

Blood and ivory near the Vatican is the business of the tusks of elephants

Between the walls that divide the holy city of Rome there is a trade of objects derived from the precious material. The Italian Forestry Corps on Friday seized religious artifacts for 150 thousand euro only in the famous gallery Savelli.


“Blood and Ivory” goes to the Vatican, yes. As he told National Geographic journalist environmental investigations, Bryan Christy, for the walls that divide the Holy City of Rome passes a not insignificant part of the trade of objects derived from the tusks of African elephants. The Italian Forestry Corps, with its operational arm Cites (deals with protected species), last Friday seized religious artifacts for 150 thousand euro in one of the most famous galleries close to the Vatican Walls: the Savelli. Operating since 1898, between St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican has five of external galleries, shops and warehouses for religious objects. In a Cites agents found in elephant ivory pieces also sold 40 000 euro: religious statues hand-carved crosses and rosaries, all in the window from 400 euro. A large part of the material seized, say the investigators, not had documentation certifying that the legal origin (the Washington Agreement and subsequent agreements between individual countries that regulate this delicate trade). The administrator of the Roman gallery, denounced, has assured that the items seized are mostly ancient legacies and the exposed ivory comes from games prior to 1946 (and therefore not subject to the limitations contemporary). In recent days, the Forest Service had made a seizure of religious materials ivory in Abruzzo and Rome at this time the operation continues. The investigation

National Geographic had shown how the ivory trade was supported by the religious devotion: Christian-Catholic, Coptic, Muslim, Buddhist. “The modern world has been spared in its ivory objects of everyday use, the handles of the brushes, billiard balls and piano keys are no longer made with materials from the tusks of elephants,” he told the U.S. journalist Christy , “remains large the religious market.” Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, one of the most popular and powerful prelates of the Philippines, has a small museum of icons ivory in its offices in Manila and offers tips for import-export of illegal material. journalist had reported on the National Geographic “the ‘ivory offered in the window “in the Gallery Savelli overlooking St. Peter’s Square and was reported as” the State of the Vatican, which has also signed international agreements against drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime, never signed the Washington Convention that protects endangered species. ” This Convention was signed by 176 states. “With regard to the sale of ivory in the Vatican City,” Christy said La Repubblica: “I think the most important thing is not whether the works are legal or illegal, but rather whether it is right to sell. Now it is proved to have quell’avorio elephants are killed in a brutal way, you kill the rangers who must protect, feeds a corruption of the world. “

6 thoughts on “More on Vatican City Ivory Raids

  1. This is indeed a sad story. Yet another condemnation of the greed of the Vatican and their attitude to so many things. Not as bad as the world-wide paedophilia, but bad enough. Interesting to note from Christy’s National Geographic piece that the Filipono prelate he referred to had been implicated in child sex abuse and was sent back to the Philippines and promoted !

  2. There has always been crimes done by these people everywhere. It is so unfair to the world for them to do the things they do and everyone lets them get away with it.
    Children are not safe with them nor is life.

  3. Vickie, I think that kind of bigoted remark belongs elsewhere…maybe in some Neo-Know-Nothing blog. Those criminal purchasers for those shops in and around Vatican City, the corrupt Philippino priest and whoever promoted him, and the pedo priests (and over 95% of RC priests are innocent of that horrific crime) do not represent the over one billion of “these people” (Catholics) on the planet. Though I don’t recall Christy making the effort to include in his article any thoughts of the “animal nut priests” he said one person mentioned, nor of any nuns or devout “animal nut” laypeople like the millions of Secular Franciscans who–trust me–are probably far more outraged than you about the complicity of some creep and ignorant/backward Catholics with the slaughter of the elephants, the attitude of those involved directly or indirectly in ivory smuggling hardly represents the majority of Catholics who are aware of the problem.

    And btw, tell us if any group identify with, especially if it’s been around a while and numbers over a dozen, does not also include some creeps, pedo’s and shameless profiteers.

    Nevertheless, thank you, Mr. Christy for stimulating our awareness, ire, action. And long live the majestic elephants!

    • P.S.
      RE: “Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, one of the most popular and powerful prelates of the Philippines…”
      According to a Sept. 27, 2012 article in the Global Nation:
      “Msgr. Cristobal Garcia has been suspended and stripped of all his positions in the Archdiocese of Cebu on orders of the Vatican…Msgr. Achilles Dakay, Cebu archdiocese media liaison officer, said Garcia’s suspension happened months before the monsignor was implicated by a National Geographic article on the illegal trade of ivory in the Philippines.”

      • 25 years after it became aware of pedophile charges against him, and just 2 weeks after “Ivory Worship” went up on in which those charges were mentioned, the Archdiocese announced Msgr. Garcia’s removal in a press conference entitled, “Ivory Worship and Msgr. Cris Garcia.”

    • Thank you, Virginia. Yes, doubtless many religious oppose the ivory trade, and they offer a wonderful opportunity to effect a change by those who conduct or condone illegal trade, or continue to value ivory as a medium for religious expression in an age when ivory results in so much loss of human and animal life, and corruption. BTW, it is not that I didn’t “make the effort” to include the views of anti-ivory use priests. They are certainly out there, but what was significant for purposes of peeling away the layers masking national ivory consumption patterns was that leaders in the Catholic church (as well as Buddhist leaders in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and China, to name three countries) condone illegal ivory activity. Relatedly, the Vatican and political leaders dealing with the Vatican continue to give ivory as a token of friendship. Changing illegal practices and changing the use of even legal ivory by religious leaders would save perhaps thousands of elephants each year. Other than those speaking in defense of Msgr. Garcia I have not yet seen statements by leaders of any religious groups seeking to stop or modify religious use of ivory.

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