In the fourth part of his interview with Phil Pullella of Reuters news agency, Pope Francis discusses the reforms put in place regarding the Vatican’s financial issues.
By Vatican News
Responding to a question, Pope Francis said he believes Vatican financial reforms will avoid future scandals, such as those that have hit the headlines in recent years.
He mentioned, in particular, the scandal regarding the purchase and sale of the Sloane Avenue building in London, now under scrutiny in an ongoing trial conducted by the Vatican court*.
Speaking about the building in London, the Reuters journalist asked the Pope, “do you believe that enough controls are now in place so that similar scandals could not take place again?”
“I believe so,” replied the Pope, immediately listing all the steps that have been taken. Amongst these, he mentioned “the creation of the Secretariat for the Economy with expert, technical people, who don’t fall into the hands of ‘benefactors or friends’, who can make you slip up. I believe that this new dicastery, let’s say, which has all the financing in its hands, is a real security in the administration, because before the administration was very messy’.
The Pope then gave the example of a section chief in the Secretariat of State who had to administer finances, but since he was not qualified in financial matters, the priest, in good faith, asked friends to give him a hand.
“But sometimes the friends were not The Blessed Imelda,” Pope Francis commented, referring to a 14th century 11-year-old Italian girl who is an example of purity. “And so what happened happened,” he added.
The Pope reiterated that the fault fell to “the irresponsibility of the structure” for past financial scandals, saying the administration of money “was not mature”.
Pope Francis concluded by recalling that “this idea for the Secretariat for the Economy came from Cardinal Pell. He was the genius”.
*This property, acquired by the Secretariat of State in 2014, is at the heart of a financial scandal for which ten people, including a cardinal, Angelo Becciu, are currently being prosecuted. The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) has sold the now-famous building at 60 Sloane Avenue in London for 186 million pounds sterling (or 214 million euros) to the American company Bain Capital, the Press Office announced on July 1, 2022.