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Vatican bank discussed as cardinals conclude pre-conclave meetings

Catholic World News - March 11, 2013

At their final meeting before the opening of the papal conclave tomorrow, the College of Cardinals heard a “brief report” on the Vatican bank.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters on March 11 that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone spoke about the bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), apparently to answer lingering questions from cardinals. The IOR has been struggling to meet European standards for transparency in banking, and questions about its administration have merged with other questions about efficiency and accountability at the Vatican.

Father Lombardi indicated that the discussion of the IOR took only a portion of the Monday session. Although he did not provide details about the other issues discussed, he said: “Naturally, much was also said about the expectations and hopes for the future Holy Father.”

During the Monday meeting 28 cardinals spoke, Father Lombardi disclosed, bringing the total number of cardinals who have spoken during the congregations up to 161. Some cardinals were still awaiting a turn to address the assembly, he said, but a solid majority of cardinals voted against holding an extra session.

The final congregation also saw a drawing to choose the three cardinals who will assist the camerlengo, Cardinal Bertone, in handling the technical details of the conclave. They will be Cardinal Antonios Naguib, the retired Coptic Catholic Patriarch; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, the former archpriest of the Roman basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.

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