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Pope reverses policy on Vatican finances

August 24, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: The rescript issued by Pope Francis this week, ordering all Vatican offices to deposit their funds in the Vatican bank, represents a reversal of the policy that the Pope himself set earlier this year in Praedicate Evangelium, argues Ed Condon of The Pillar.

That apostolic constitution gave APSA (the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See) primary control over Vatican investments. But now, with what he termed a “clarification” of that order, the Pope has directed that all liquid assets will be entrusted to the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), the Vatican bank—leaving APSA with only the Vatican’s real-estate portfolio.

APSA and the IOR have vied for control of Vatican investments, with the Secretariat of State also seeking to preserve its free hand in handling funds. The August 23 order appears to give the IOR exclusive authority over cash investments, with APSA handling real estate and the Secretariat of State—the office responsible for the disastrous London real-estate scheme—losing financial autonomy.

As Condon notes, the IOR, once the primary focus of complaints about financial corruption at the Vatican, has undergone serious reform in the past several years, and now earns high grades from European banking overseers for transparency. The same cannot be said for APSA and other Vatican offiices.

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