By Deborah Castellano Lubov

As Pope Francis works toward greater financial transparency and accountability in the Vatican, he has given a new mandate to improve oversight of spending and investments, including of Peter’s Pence.

The Pope’s new Motu Proprio “A Better Organization,” published today, Dec. 28, by the Holy See Press Office, continues the attempt at overhauling Vatican finances.

Converting into law what he already wrote in his Aug. 25 letter to the Secretary of State, this Motu Proprio, a statement from the Press Office underscored, “represents another important step in the reform of the Curia.”

Noting the decision comes before Jan. 11, for the implementation of the 2021 budget, the Vatican clarified “the Commission instituted by the Holy Father for the passing of the economic and financial functions of the Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, for the management, and to the Secretariat for the Economy, for the control, which was worked on over the last weeks, will continue, as was foreseen, to specify some technical details until February 14.”

The new law will reduce the number of economic managers in the Holy See and concentrate administrative, management, economic and financial decisions in the Dicasteries.

“With the motu proprio,” the Vatican explained, “the Holy Father wishes to proceed to a better organization of the Roman Curia and to a more specialized functioning of the Secretariat of State, which will be able to help him and his Successors with greater freedom on questions of greater importance for the good of the Church.”

The functions of the so-called “Administrative Office” of the Secretariat of State, the press  release noted, are reduced, given that it will no longer have to manage or decide on funds and investments.

“The Motu Proprio,” it stated, “establishes a greater control and a better visibility of Saint Peter’s Pence and of the funds that come from donations of the faithful.”

In addition, specific controls–the mandate said–are reinforced on some entities related to the Holy See, which manage funds that come from donations.

“With these decisions,” the Holy See Press Office’s statement concluded, “the Holy Father expresses his personal commitment and that of the Roman Curia, for greater transparency, a clearer separation of functions, greater efficacy in controls and greater adjustment of the economy of the Holy See to the mission of the Church,” so that “the People of God who help with their generosity to support the mission of the Bishop of Rome, can do so with the confidence that their contributions are administered appropriately and transparently with the exercise of the due controls.”

Link to full Italian text: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/12/28/0694/01624.html

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