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Vatican auditor resigns

June 20, 2017

The Vatican’s auditor general has resigned, in another apparent setback for the cause of financial reform.

In a terse announcement on June 20, the Vatican said that Libero Milone had presented his resignation and Pope Francis had accepted it. No explanation for the auditor’s departure was given.

Milone’s resignation appears to have been abrupt. According to Italian media reports he had recently been offered a post as director of the Italian broadcasting network, but turned it down, saying that he wanted to focus on his responsibilities at the Vatican. The Vatican announcement indicated that a search for Milone’s replacement would begin “as soon as possible.”

Milone was appointed in June 2015 to the office of auditor general and promised “full autonomy and independence” in the post, which was created in 2014 as part of a program of financial reform initiated by the Secretariat for the Economy. However, in their drive to promote financial transparency, both the Secretariat and the auditor have clashed frequently with other Vatican offices, particularly the Secretariat of State and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA).

In May of this year, when APSA directed Vatican offices to furnish financial records for an audit by the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Secretary for the Economy, Cardinal George Pell, countermanded the order, saying that Milone, as auditor general, had the only proper responsibility for arranging an audit. At the time, Cardinal Pell said that the conflict was a “moment of truth” for the cause of economic reform.

 
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