This press statement from a spokesperson for the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy was released Thursday afternoon.
* * *
The recently released books appear to have included false and misleading claims about the management of expenditure by Cardinal Pell and the expenditure incurred by the Secretariat throughout 2014. These matters were addressed in a Statement issued earlier this year which does not appear to have been mentioned by the authors. It is attached for reference.
Key facts about the 500,000 Euro expenditure in 2014 that has been reported include:
1. In the period between March 2014 (when the Secretariat was established) and December 2014, operational costs, including initial set up costs for furniture and computers as well as salaries were incurred.
2. Salaries and related costs accounted for 292,000 Euro.
3. The net costs of air travel by staff of the Secretariat for these 9 months was less than 4000 Euro, considerably less than many other entities.
4. 2500 Euros was spent on acquiring vestments and altar cloths for the Chapel in the Secretariat office so that staff could come together in prayer and for the celebration of Holy Mass.
5. 16000 Euro was spent in travel and accommodation by advisors working on a project for the C9.
6. A Vatican apartment was secured for one senior staff member from abroad on a term contract. It is anticipated this asset will continue to be used by the Secretariat for many years as it provides a less expensive option of accommodating international experts on long term placement than alternatives at one of the Domus’ or in expensive hotels.
7. Consistent with the practice at the time, the Secretariat was not consulted prior to APSA awarding contracts. The Secretariat was not asked to provide specific approval of each cost item prior to making a commitment – these practices have now changed. Expenditure by the Secretariat now requires the explicit approval of the relevant manager before costs can be incurred.
Finally and for the avoidance of doubt about the commitment of Cardinal Pell to cost management and control, the Secretariat completed the year well below its 2014 Budget and was one of the very few entities to propose a reduction in total expenditure in its 2015 Budget submission.