Cardinal Pell issues financial rule book for Vatican

Accountability drive

Cardinal George Pell has made the first significant move in Pope Francis’s drive to clean up the Vatican’s finances, issuing a financial management manual to Church officials, reports The Guardian.

The rule book, which will be binding on all members of the Vatican bureaucracy from January 1, is part of Cardinal Pell’s work to bring the Church’s financial management into line with international accounting standards.

The manual was sent to all Vatican departments this week by the Secretariat for the Economy, a special unit set up earlier this year, according to an internal cover letter seen by Reuters. The letter said the manual contained guidelines “that are an essential first step in the reforms of the economic and administrative practices of the Holy See, being requested by the Holy Father.”

All departments will have to enact “sound and efficient financial management policies” and prepare financial information and reports in a “consistent and transparent manner” that adheres to international accounting standards.

The letter, and a separate internal announcement from the Secretariat, both say that each department’s financial statements will be reviewed by one of the world’s major international auditing firms.

Francis signalled his determination to make the Vatican’s finances more transparent and less vulnerable to abuse by handing Cardinal Pell wide-ranging powers as the head of the new Secretariat this year. Cardinal Pell’s appointment was accompanied by an organisational restructure which means administrative and financial managements no longer fall under the authority of one cardinal.

Vatican sources said heads of some departments had resisted attempts to put them under the control of Cardinal Pell’s department.

FULL STORY Cardinal George Pell issues financial rule book for Vatican (The Guardian)

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