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Moneyval report praises Vatican financial reforms, awaits practical results

Catholic World News - December 12, 2013

European banking examiners have praised the Vatican for making “enormous” progress toward transparency in financial affairs, but said that new Vatican rules still must be put into practice, especially at the Vatican bank.

A 30-page report from Moneyval, made public on December 12, gave the Vatican credit for implementing a series of new financial rules, and giving new oversight authority to the Financial Information Authority (FIA). However, the European group observed that the FIA has not yet tested its new powers by conducting a thorough review of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), the Vatican bank; and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA), the office that handles the Vatican’s investments and payroll accounts.

René Brulhart, the head of the FIA, told Vatican Radio that the Moneyval report was “a very positive sign.” In a previous report, issued in 2012, Moneyval had acknowledged progress toward transparency in Vatican financial affairs, but said serious problems remained to be addressed. The new report—issued after the Vatican undertook a series of new reforms-- is considerably more positive. The Moneyval report finds, in effect, that the Vatican reforms appear adequate on paper, but only a practical application will prove their value.

The FIA fully intends to carry out the suggested reviews of the IOR and APSA—the two agencies that have been at the center of complaints about suspicious financial transactions-- Brulhart told Vatican Radio. He said that his next task, “and this will be done shortly, is to carry out so-called on-site inspections, mainly at the IOR.

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