International News

Laity Will Have Something to Say About Vatican Finances

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – In a move reflecting both his drive to reform the Vatican bureaucracy and his oft-stated desire to include laypeople in the leadership of the Church, Pope Francis established a new panel – to include almost as many lay members as clerics – to oversee the finances of the Holy See and Vatican City State.

Another new office, to be headed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, will implement the panel’s policies.

The Vatican explained that the panel would “enable more formal involvement of senior and experienced experts in financial administration, planning and reporting, and will ensure better use of resources,” particularly for “our works with the poor and marginalized.”

The Council for the Economy will include “eight cardinals and bishops to reflect the universality of the church” and “seven lay experts of different nationalities with strong professional financial experience,” the Vatican said. They will “meet on a regular basis and to consider policies and practices and to prepare and analyze reports on the economic-administrative activities of the Holy See.”

The lay members of the new council will exercise an unprecedented level of responsibility for non-clerics in the Vatican, where the highest offices have always been reserved for cardinals and bishops. The Vatican did not release any names of council members.

Reporting to the council will be the new Secretariat for the Economy, which will exercise “authority over all the economic and administrative activities within the Holy See and the Vatican City State,” including budget making, financial planning, hiring, procurement and the preparation of detailed financial statements.

“I have always recognized the need for the Church to be guided by experts in this area and will be pleased to be working with the members of the new Council for the Economy as we approach these tasks,” Cardinal Pell said.

by Francis X. Rocca

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