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Pope warns Pontifical Mission Societies of ‘alleged corruption’

June 05, 2023

In an address to participants in the general assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Pope Francis spoke of “alleged corruption having occurred in the name of the Church’s missionary work.”

The four Pontifical Mission Societies are the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, the Holy Childhood Association, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. The Pope’s remarks come amid a Vatican investigation into the transfer of $17 million from the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States to a non-profit investment fund.

At the time of the transfer, the US national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies was Father Andrew Small, OMI; in 2021, Pope Francis appointed Father Small the secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

In his June 3 address, Pope Francis said:

Please do not reduce the Societies to money! They certainly need money, which is a means, but do not reduce them to that, for they are bigger than money. Money is what we need to move forward. Yet if spirituality is missing and they become merely a business, then immediately corruption arises. Indeed, even in these days, we have seen newspaper reports of alleged corruption having occurred in the name of the Church’s missionary work.


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