Sydney's Cardinal Pell to Lead Economic Oversight of Holy See

Francis Establishes New Structure to Coordinate Vatican Finances

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The Vatican announced today that Francis has established a new structure to coordinate the economic and administrative matters of the Holy See. Cardinal George Pell of Sydney as prefect of the new Secretariat for the Economy.

Today’s announcement comes after the recommendations of the review conducted by the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic- Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA) were considered and endorsed by both the council of eight cardinals established to advise the Holy Father on governance and the committee of 15 cardinals which oversees the financial affairs of the Holy See.

COSEA recommended changes to simplify and consolidate existing management structures and improve coordination and oversight across the Holy See and Vatican City State. COSEA also recommended more formal commitment to adopting accounting standards and generally accepted financial management and reporting practices as well as enhanced internal controls, transparency and governance.

The Secretariat for the Economy will have authority over all economic and administrative activities within the Holy See and the Vatican City State. The Secretariat will be responsible, among other things, for preparing an annual budget for the Holy See and Vatican City State as well as financial planning and various support functions such as human resources and procurement. The Secretariat will also be required to prepare detailed financial statements of the Holy See and Vatican State.

The Secretariat for the Economy will implement policies determined by a new Council for the Economy — a 15 member Council composed of eight cardinals or bishops, reflecting various parts of the world, and seven lay experts of different nationalities with strong professional financial experience. The Council will meet on a regular basis and to consider policies and practices and to prepare and analyze reports on the economic-administrative activities of the Holy See.

The prefect of the secretariat reports to the Council for the Economy. 

The Pope also stipulated the appointment of an Auditor-General, who will be empowered to conduct audits of any agency of the Holy See and Vatican City State at any time.

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