Questions about Vatican finances, especially those involving a real estate deal in London, are serious but they also are a sign that reforms begun by Pope Benedict XVI are working, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: CNS.
“This is the first time the lids have been taken off the pots by someone inside and not outside” the Vatican, the Pope told reporters on his return flight to Rome.
Pope Francis spent about an hour with reporters at the end of his weeklong trip to Thailand and Japan. He spoke in general about the two countries and answered eight questions, including two about the recent Vatican finance scandal involving a large loan to develop a London property.
The Pope also spoke about nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, nonviolence and the just-war theory and about political unrest in Hong Kong, Chile and several other Latin American countries.
Pope Francis said no one should be bothered by the fact that the Vatican invests the money it collects from Catholics around the world. “The sum of Peter’s Pence arrives and what do I do? Put it in a drawer? No, that’s bad administration. I try to make an investment.”
Peter’s Pence is a papal fund used for charity, but also to support the running of the Roman Curia and Vatican embassies around the world.
The London deal seems to have involved “things that don’t seem ‘clean,’ but the report did not come from outside.” Instead, under finance reform procedures begun by Pope Benedict XVI and continuing under Pope Francis, “it was the internal auditor general, who said, ‘Look, here is something that doesn’t add up.’ He came to me.”
One thing he has not signed or even begun to work on, he said, is a proposed encyclical letter on nonviolence.
Asked about the idea of such a letter, Pope Francis said, “The plan exists, but the next Pope will do it.” The encyclical is one of many “projects in the drawer” that are “maturing there,” waiting until the time is right, he said.
As for nuclear weapons, the Pope reminded reporters that visiting Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Sunday, “I said again that the use of nuclear weapons is immoral; this must go in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”