Pell intends to be Vatican finance chief until 2019

Cardinal George Pell has pledged to serve his full five-year term as prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy.

Although he turns 75 next month, the cardinal plans to continue in his current post until 2019.

This was confirmed in a statement his office released late last month.

A Crux article reported that, according to the cardinal’s office, “Pope Francis had confirmed the Australian prelate as the Vatican’s top financial official until at least 2019”.

Cardinal Pell is currently in the middle of what some commentators are seeing as a power struggle between departments in the Roman Curia.

An external audit of the Vatican’s finances by PricewaterhouseCoopers was suspended last month by a senior official at the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, Archbishop Angelo Becciu.

Problems with the firm’s contract were cited, including the fact that Cardinal Pell was one of the signatories, The Tablet reported.

This assertion was challenged by the cardinal who said the PwC agreement was agreed by the Council for the Economy, the body led by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx which also oversees Cardinal Pell’s department.

According to statement from Cardinal Pell’s office, “it is also interesting to note so called ‘concerns’ about the PwC audit and contract were only raised when auditors began asking for certain financial information and were finding it difficult to get answers”.

A communique from the Holy See released last Tuesday said there were issues with “the meaning and scope of certain clauses” and “methods of implementation” with the PwC deal.

Last week, Pope Francis paid a visit to Cardinal Pell’s department.

In its statement, Pell’s office said the Pope spent an hour with the secretariat’s team during which he took part “in a friendly and lively discussion”.

It added that Francis “repeated the need for outside or external professional inclusion and assistance”.


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