Cardinal George Pell has been appointed by Pope Francis to head a new Vatican department that will supervise the Holy See's economic affairs, reports the ABC.
In the new role of Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, the current Archbishop of Sydney will be responsible for preparing the Holy See and Vatican's annual budget, as well as financial planning and enhanced internal controls.
The new ministry is the first decisive action by Pope Francis in the wake of scandals at the Vatican bank. 'The Holy Father today announced a new coordination structure for economic and administrative affairs of the Holy See and the Vatican State,' it said in a statement.
The Vatican said the move followed recommendations made by cardinals advising the Pope including for a 'more formal commitment' to international standards. The changes 'will ensure better use of resources, improving the support available for various programs, particularly our works with the poor,' it said.
The new ministry, formally a 'Secretariat for the Economy', will be governed by a 15-member council of eight clergymen from different parts of the world and seven lay international financial sector experts.
Pope Francis will also nominate a general auditor with broader powers to oversee all Vatican departments. Cardinal Pell, 72, was last April appointed as one of eight cardinals to advise the Pope on how to reform the Church.
Pope summons George Pell for senior Vatican role (The Australian)
Francis names Cardinal Pell as head of new Vatican economy body (The Catholic Herald)