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New papal panel to study Vatican business affairs, propose reforms

Catholic World News - July 19, 2013

Pope Francis has appointed an international commission, composed mostly of lay experts, to study the economic affairs and administrative structures of the Holy See and propose reforms.

In a chirograph (a papal decree) dated July 18, the Pope established a commission of 8 people, directing them to “draft reforms of the institutions of the Holy See, with the aim of a simplification and rationalization of the existing bodies and more careful planning of the economic activities of all the Vatican administrations.”

The commission will report directly to Pope Francis. The papal decree notes that the commission should cooperate with the commission of 8 cardinals already empaneled by the Holy Father to advise him on administrative changes at the Vatican. The Pope urges asks that all Vatican offices cooperate fully with the work of the group.

The members of the commission, the papal document said, are “experts in the relevant legal, economic, financial and organizational matters.” The commission is chaired by Joseph Zahra, a Maltese layman currently associated with the Prefecture of Economic Affairs. The commission’s secretary, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, who works at the same prefecture, is the only cleric on the panel. The other members are lay people from Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Singapore.

The new commission, which is charged more particularly with the business affairs of the Holy See, is to begin its work immediately. The Pope indicates in his chirograph that he hopes the commission will “develop strategic solutions for improvement, so as to avoid the misuse of economic resources, to improve transparency in the processes of purchasing goods and services; to refine the administration of goods and real estate; to work with ever greater prudence in the financial sphere; to ensure correct application of accounting principles; and to guarantee healthcare and social security benefits to all those eligible.”

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