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Vatican cancels external audit

June 10, 2016

The Vatican has cancelled an external audit, announcing that the responsibility for auditing accounts will be carried out by the Vatican's own Auditor General.

In April the Secretariat of State had announced a suspension of the external audit, which was being conducted by the firm of PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC). The move came as a surprise to Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, who had commissioned the external audit as part of his drive to bring accountability and transparency to Vatican financial affairs. At that time, the Secretariat of State said that the suspension was due to questions about the scope of PwC's contract.

Those questions have now been resolved, the Vatican announced on June 10, and PwC "will play an assisting role" in helping to audit Vatican offices. However, the announcement notes that "the task of performing the financial statement audit is entrusted to the Office of the Auditor General, as is normally the case for every sovereign state."

Questions about the sovereignty of the Vatican city-state, and the propriety of opening the Vatican's books to an external audit, had reportedly been at the heart of the objections raised by the Secretariat of State to the PwC audit. The Vatican Insider site reported that Cardinal Reinhard Marx, in his role as head of the Council for the Economy, played a key role in resolving differences between the Secretariat of State and the Secretariat for the Economy, producing the new agreement.

"With this initiative, the Holy See will promptly resume its collaboration with PwC," the June 10 statement said. However, Vatican agencies will not be required to furnish full financial information to the PwC auditors. Instead, the services of the firm will be "available to those dicasteries that wish to avail themselves of its support and consulting services."

The June 10 statement that the suspension of the audit had not been "attributable to the desire of one or more entities of the Holy See to hinder reforms," as many analysts had suggested. "The commitment to the economic-financial audit of the Holy See and of the State of Vatican City has been, and remains, a priority," the statement concluded.




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  • Posted by: unum - Jun. 12, 2016 9:09 AM ET USA

    I guess we don't have a "real Pope" who will make the changes promised as he began his papacy. The Vatican is looking more and more like the U.S. Government, especially in the way it manages the funds entrusted to it by millions of devout members of the Body of Christ!

  • Posted by: pja - Jun. 11, 2016 12:29 AM ET USA

    This smells fishy. Never in my 20+ yeatrs as a CPA have I heard of such an arangemennt

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jun. 10, 2016 7:39 PM ET USA

    I guess that we will have to wait and see what the results are to see if the original objective is accomplished.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Jun. 10, 2016 6:57 PM ET USA

    I support this. I think that besides the sovereignty issue in itself which is a real issue, quite doubtless there are some things that are extremely sensitive and that must not be revealed to outsiders. It is not unlikely that ransom of hostages is one. I think that this need not be about resistance to legitimate reform.