When cardinals elected Pope Francis in 2013, he was given a mandate to eliminate cronyism, inefficiency and corruption in the Vatican.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 7 that Pope Francis has trimmed the powers of Cardinal George Pell, who was charged with cleaning up the city-state’s muddled accounts, in a setback for broader overhaul of Vatican bureaucracy.
Late last year, Pell hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to undertake a comprehensive audit of the Vatican’s finances.
Accounting at the Vatican has never followed unified policies, according to the WSJ article. Annual reports aren’t released, different departments use different accounting principles, data are inconsistent and not comparable. Before Cardinal Pell’s appointment, a panel of cardinals charged with economic oversight met just twice a year. Budgets didn’t exist, and expenditures weren’t itemized.
Already Pell had found about $1.6 billion “tucked away” off the books.
Other officials, led by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, known as the pope’s prime minister, let Pell know the audit wouldn’t fly. In June, the Vatican announced it had been scrapped, and soon many of Cardinal Pell’s wide-ranging powers were handed to others.
The whole article is available to WSJ subscribers here: