This week, an Italian investigative news program accused the Vatican Treasury of investing 20 million euros (about $24 million) in pharmaceutical companies involved in the mass manufacture of the controversial “morning-after pill.”

The program Report, broadcast by the Rai 3 channel, interviewed the Vatican’s former auditor general, Libero Milone, who assured that during his work at the Vatican, he alerted superiors to the “risky” nature of the investments in the pharmaceutical industry using the money of the faithful.

He also warned that this type of industry goes against the traditional values of the Catholic Church. Therefore, he discouraged and condemned this type of investment. 

Milone was the first auditor general of the Vatican, appointed in 2015 by Pope Francis. During his conversation with the journalist, Milone said he considered the investments a risk “because they do not correspond to the social doctrine of the Church.” 

The report stated that Milone alerted the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) and other Vatican superiors about the bad investment and the Novartis shares were sold.

But after these events, he and his deputy, Ferruccio Pannicco, were forced to resign by Archbishop Angelo Becciu, then deputy to the Secretariat of State, who allegedly falsely accused them of espionage.

According to the Report program, in 2016, APSA functions as the Treasury department of the Holy See and manages the operating expenses of Vatican City. It was responsible for investing 20 million euros in two Swiss pharmaceutical companies including Novartis. 

Novartis is known for mass-producing and selling the “morning-after pill” through its subsidiary Sandoz, the report claims.

The “morning-after pill” is an emergency contraceptive taken after sexual activity to prevent a possible pregnancy. The Catholic Church and conservative pro-life groups condemn using the pill because the drug can also act as a chemical abortifacient when the woman’s egg has already been fertilized and implanted in the uterus.

As early as 2000, the Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement condemning the increased use of contraceptives. “It is clear that the proven ‘anti-implantation’ action of the morning-after pill is nothing other than a chemically induced abortion. It is neither intellectually coherent nor scientifically justifiable to say that we are not dealing with the same thing.” Reported the Christian website ChurchMilitant.

Church Militant’s Rome correspondent Jules Gomes says that although Novartis shares were sold after the scandal, the Vatican continues to deal with controversial companies. “The Vatican now, is getting into bed with companies like Pfizer and Moderna over the COVID-19 vaccine,” Gomes warned.

Gomes also mentioned that the controversial and untested gene therapy drugs, or so-called COVID vaccines, violate Church teaching on the use of aborted babies in drug development.