Vatican City, Jul 9, 2016 / 11:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A new set of reforms further clarifying the roles of Vatican financial offices was announced July 9, implementing changes set in motion by Pope Francis’ 2014 edict, “Fidelis dispensator et prudens.”
This new directive, entitled “Temporal goods,” affirms that the role of the Church's assets center around “divine worship, the just support for the clergy, apostolate, and works of charity, especially for the needy.”
“The Church, therefore, feels the responsibility to pay maximum attention to the administration of their economic resources is always at the service of these purposes,” the document said.
The motu proprio, signed July 4, ensures “the clear and unequivocal distinction between control and vigilance, on the one hand, and administration of goods, on the other,” according to a July 9 statement by the Holy See press office. “Therefore, the Motu Proprio specifies the competencies pertaining to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See and better delineates the Secretariat for the Economy’s fundamental role of control and vigilance,” it said.
The new document also touched on matters relating to pensions, health care, the payment of staff, and maintenance. In the earlier stages of reform, the Secretariat of the Economy, headed by Cardinal George Pell, was charged with distributing salaries and benefits to Vatican staff as well as issuing guidelines and maintaining oversight of these areas.
Now the task of administration of Vatican assets will go to the Administration of Patrimony of the Apostolic See, headed by Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, the original financial body that was in place before the creation of the Council for the Economy, Secretariat of the Economy and Office of the Auditor in 2014.
In 2013, Pope Francis created an investigatory commission to examine the Holy See’s administrative structures, the “Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See.” On it were seven lay experts, one clerical secretary, and external consultants. The members worked from August of 2013 until May of 2014 and made recommendations to ensure greater simplicity, transparency, integrity, and accounting standards within the Vatican.