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Catholic World News

Vatican issues new controls on spending for causes of saints

March 10, 2016

Pope Francis has approved new rules governing the expenditure of funds in the causes for beatification or canonization of new saints. 

The new rules, which were approved by the Pontiff for a three-year trial period, are designed to ensure accountability in the collection and use of money associated with the cause of candidates for sainthood. 

Last year an investigation of Vatican finances uncovered a near-total lack of control on the use of funds collected for the causes of saints. Two Italian journalists, working with confidential documents that had leaked from the Vatican, focused intense critical attention on the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, showing a complete absence of financial safeguards and a large number of questionable transactions. 

The new rules will require detailed accounting for all expenses, under the supervision of bishops who will then be expected to provide reports to the Vatican. If the funds related to a particular candidacy are not exhausted when the cause is completed, the rules stipulate that the money should be paid into a "solidarity fund" to support the costs of causes that are not so well endowed.

The costs of investigating a cause for canonization-- involving the preparation of an extensive dossier on the candidate's life, and meticulous research into reported miracles; along with related expenses for travel, translation, and printing-- routinely exceed $100,000. The new rules are intended to guard against extravagant spending and cut down opportunities for corrupt practices.

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