The Holy See’s Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) published its annual budget report. The report is the first in the Institute’s 125 year history. The 100 page report contains business activities and financial statements for 2012 and the first 8 months of 2013.
The Cardinal’s Commission that oversees the IOR, led by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, stated in the report’s introduction that since the first anti-money laundering law came into effect in 2011, transparency has become a key element in the course of reform.
“The reform process led to the appointment of the Pontifical Commission by the Holy Father on 24 June 2013, and will result in giving the IOR a new direction, as was done in 1942 and in 1990,” Cardinal Bertone wrote.
In June, Pope Francis established a Pontifical Commission charged with gathering “accurate information” on the legal position and various activities of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). The Holy Father stated that the commission’s findings will allow for “a better harmonization of the [IOR] with the universal mission of the Apostolic See.
“It is important to remember that the IOR’s reason for existing is to serve the Catholic Church, in particular its works of charity and its missionary activities, by safeguarding assets and providing payment services,” Cardinal Bertone wrote in the introduction.
The President of the IOR, Ernst von Freyburg, stated that the report sets out to explain the mission, activities, corporate governance, and the ongoing reform program of the Institute.
“The Annual Report seeks to contribute to the transparency which the Catholic Church, our customers, our correspondent banks, our authorities and the public rightfully expect,” von Freyburg wrote.
The president of the IOR also stated that the reforms, which began with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and continued with Pope Francis, seek to improve organization, compliance and transparency at the IOR.
“The IOR, he concluded is “a small, conservatively managed financial institution of the Catholic Church that serves those spreading the Word of God around the world.”