Pell praises Pope’s reforms

Pell praised Francis' reforms

The Vatican’s former treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, has praised Pope Francis’ reforms designed to improve transparency in the Holy See.

Pell was speaking at “Real Estate and the New Evangelisation,” an event held in Rome on April 28. The cardinal addressed several questions raised by recent financial scandals in the Catholic Church.

Francis’ reforms of the Vatican’s Curia, outlined in his long-awaited apostolic constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium” published in March, need a bit more “polishing.”

But “even the most critical observers say disaster has been avoided,” Pell said.

Financial scandals have plagued the Catholic institution, at least since the 1980s. Currently, 10 individuals are on trial at the Vatican, facing charges ranging from corruption to embezzlement and money laundering.

“Even if moral culpability cannot be proved among any of the Vatican personnel involved, responsibility for the incompetence must be acknowledged,” Pell said.

“It seems that a history of an economic failure in a diocese or a religious order was almost a prerequisite for appointment to the Curia,” the cardinal said.

According to Pell, Francis’ efforts have significantly improved the economic situation at the Vatican. However, the cardinal said, “we cannot afford to lose another 500 million through incompetence or corruption in the next 40 years.”

The Vatican has faced a growing deficit every year, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to its 2022 financial projections, the Catholic institution faces a $37 million deficit. This is due primarily to diminishing donations as the faithful soured over recent financial scandals.

The cardinal offered tips to address the financial situation at the Vatican: “Avoid cooperating with banks and financial agents who have a well-established reputation for shadiness,” he said. “It is a prudential option that has been avoided by the Vatican for 40 years at least.”

Bishops and priests involved in managing funds must understand basic economic principles as well, he said.

The pope’s reforms and those put in place by his predecessors “have stopped the money laundering” he commented.

“I couldn’t say that we completely spring-cleaned,” Pell said. But “the people running the show are people of integrity,” he added.


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