Vatican suspends external audit of its finances

Swiss guards outside Vatican bank

The Holy See has suspended an external audit of Vatican finances by global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), reports Global Pulse.

On April 12, Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu sent a letter to all Vatican entities informing them that an audit being performed by PwC has been "suspended immediately," and that any letters of authorisation those entities have already issued to permit the transmission of financial data to PwC are to be revoked, Crux reports.

The Vatican had revealed that in December 2015 the firm had been contracted on the advice of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.

According to sources cited by Crux, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin raised concerns regarding the nature of the contract that was signed with PwC rather than the basic desirability of greater transparency.

These concerns included contract provisions allowing PwC to disseminate financial information about the Vatican internally, and possibly with external agents with whom the firm collaborates, Crux reports.

Others, however, believe the move reflects Vatican dissatisfaction with Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 75 in June this year.

"They're afraid of the audit uncovering information they don't want uncovered and are worried about losing sovereign control over Vatican finances," a source told the National Catholic Register.

"What they want is to get rid of Cardinal Pell, but it's important to remember that a Pope resigned largely because of these issues."

Another source told the Register that the move to suspend the audit was meant to "send a clear message that the Secretariat of State is again in control of the machine."

Meanwhile, Italian newspaper Italia Oggi suggested on Wednesday that the Vatican Bank president, French businessman Jean Baptiste De Franssu, regarded as an ally of Cardinal Pell, will also be replaced.

FULL COVERAGE

Vatican suspends an external audit of state finance's (Global Pulse)

Pulling plug on audit means gut-check time for Vatican reform (Crux)

Vatican Audit Suspended, Secretariat of State Announces (National Catholic Register)

Blow for Pope's reforms as audit into Vatican's finances forced to halt (The Tablet)

Outside audit suspended: Has civil war erupted at the Vatican? (The Catholic Herald)

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