Vatican finances must serve Church’s mission, not vice versa

Vatican finances must serve mission

The Vatican’s top finance man Fr Juan Antonio Guerrero has warned that in economic matters Vatican finances must serve  Church’s mission and not the other way around.

“As the pope has often repeated, it is not for us to serve the economy, but for the economy to serve us,” said Father Guerrero at a symposium on Tuesday in Rome.

Guerrero, 63, is the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy. He was appointed as the Vatican’s financial czar in November 2019, filling the post left vacant by Australian Cardinal George Pell.

“The economy is not the primary activity of the Roman Curia. But it helps us to make it possible to carry out the mission of the Curia. It must do so without losing the credibility of the Church’s mission,” Father Guerrero said.

Asked to comment on the consequences Curia reform will likely have on the economic bodies of the Holy See, the Spanish Jesuit insisted on the need for transparency in the use of funds.

“And when it is necessary not to make public the use of certain funds, the request must be submitted to a special commission which will then control the use of the sum granted,” he detailed.

He pointed to the existence of this commission which Pope Francis instituted in September 2020 to manage the exceptions to the rule of budgetary transparency now obligatory in the Roman Curia.

Several top Curia officials also attended the symposium.

Among them was Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, one of the leading architects of the Curia’s reform.

“We are living in an era of change,” he underlined.

“We are no longer in a regime of Christendom. That means we are no longer in a time of doctrine, but of proclaiming the faith,” said the 74-year-old Italian, one of the pope’s closest aides.

During his address, Cardinal Semeraro emphasised that the Curia must be seen as a “structure of service”, not one of power.

“Being at the service means being part of an adaptable, flexible reality,” he said.

The remark was seen as a direct criticism of any form of rigidity or resistance to change detected in some Vatican officials.


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