Though the Vatican's communications reform committee met last week, it is still to be seen how the committee's proposals will be incorporated within a larger reform of the Roman Curia. The committee met for three days last week, and began an exploration of the Vatican's media branches; but no official communication on the meeting has been delivered. According to sources, the committee, which is chaired by Chris Patten and includes both curial officials and external experts, has visited Vatican Radio, Vatican Television, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, and L’Osservatore Romano. At the present time, the reform idea is one of integration and consolidation, so as to streamline procedures, and to generate greater revenue. “The main reason for curial reform is that of saving expenses,” a source who works in the Vatican financial branch told CNA Nov. 15. For this reason, the first step of the reform should be that of streamlining the number of administrations, rather than the number of dicasteries. The source maintained that “the administrations are being given a single model of budgeting, and soon the Secretariat for the Economy will take control over all the budgets, and will file one only budget for all the Vatican administrations, thus carrying forward the rationalization of expenses.” To this end, the economy secretariat has delivered a handbook of financial management policies to all the Vatican dicasteries. The handbook provides an explanation of the technical terms for budgets, and a model that each dicastery will have to follow beginning in January 2015. According to the handbook, “the budget template is analyzed by and discussed with the Secretariat for the Economy; after analysis by the Secretariat for the Economy and dialogue with the entity or administration, and after any amendments are made, the budget is approved by the prefect for inclusion in the consolidated budget.” “The consolidated budget and the budget of the Secretariat for the Economy will then be submitted to the Council for the Economy for final review, and recommendation to the Holy Father.” The handbook also contains indications for the financial management reporting, a list of accounting policies, and even a chapter on “taxation and compliance.” This is the first step in rationalizing and harmonizing all the Vatican administrations under the umbrella of internationally acknowledged management policies. The Vatican's communication branches will be part of this policy, and there is a notion of creating “a single administration for the media branch, in order to have a single budget to fulfill the same purpose.” This harmonization of Vatican media administrations should mirror the efforts of the Secretariat for the Economy regarding the administration of Vatican dicasteries and institutions.
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