Oct. 10, 2017.
Reform of the Vatican’s finances has been a top priority for Pope Francis. However, after some initial successes he has now suffered several serious reverses:
- An independent financial audit of the Vatican’s finances by PwC was abruptly halted
- Cardinal Pell who heads the new Secretariat of the Economy is in Australia facing sexual abuse charges in court which could see him away from Rome for a year – and no replacement has been appointed
- The highly respected Auditor General Libero Milone was appointed on a 5-year contract but left after 2 years. Milone says he was forced to quit after finding irregularities.
It appears obvious that some powerful members of the Curia do not want transparency in financial matters. The problem seems to lie in Vatican culture, where each Vatican department guards its autonomy. While most Vatican departments now prepare accounts covering their running costs, there are no public accounts of the Vatican’s property and investment portfolios, which are spread over a number of departments. The Vatican’s property portfolio is estimated at €10billion but these details are kept secret.
Pope Francis has said: “If we don’t know how to look after money, which we can see, how can we look after the souls of the faithful, which we cannot?”
We Are Church International fully supports Pope Francis’ financial reforms aimed at accountability and transparency. “We call on Pope Francis to appoint a new head at the Secretariat of the Economy to replace Cardinal Pell, whose 5 year term would in any case end in 2019” said Sigrid Grabmeier, Chair of We Are Church International. “The new head should be a layperson with experience in change management in complex organizations. This is essential in giving the people of the Church a sense that the Vatican understands the importance of being open about its finances. It will increase the sense of trust donors have in the Vatican.”
We Are Church International (IMWAC) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.