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Pope Francis will not close Vatican bank, reaffirms its mission

Catholic World News - April 07, 2014

Pope Francis will not close the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican bank, and has reaffirmed “the importance of the IOR’s mission for the good of the Catholic Church, the Holy See and the Vatican City State,” according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office.

The Vatican statement indicated that the Pope had accepted recommendations from the special papal commission empaneled to study the IOR, the council of cardinals supervising the bank, and a 2nd papal commission studying the overall economic and management practices of the Vatican. These recommendations were discussed by the Pope and his Council of Cardinals in February before the Pontiff reached his final decision.

“The IOR will continue to serve with prudence and provide specialized financial services to the Catholic Church worldwide,” the statement continued. “The valuable services that can be offered by the Institute assist the Holy Father in his mission as universal pastor and also aid those institutions and individuals who collaborate with him in his ministry.”

At the request of Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, the IOR's president, Ernst von Freyburg, will complete a “plan to ensure that the IOR can fulfil its mission as part of the new financial structures of the Holy See/Vatican City State” and will present his plan to the eight-member Council of Cardinals and the newly formed Council for the Economy.

Cardinal Pell “has confirmed the importance of a sustainable systematic alignment of the legal and regulatory framework of the Holy See/Vatican City State with regulatory international best practice,” the statement concluded. “Strict regulatory supervision and improvements in compliance, transparency and operations initiated in 2012 and substantially accelerated in 2013 are critical for the Institute’s future.”

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