For many months there has been talk about the steps the Vatican is taking to achieve transparency in financial and economic matters. In this connection, Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, explained that “it must not be thought that Pope Benedict XVI did nothing  and we are now doing everything.”

“We are doing something on the foundations proposed during Benedict’s time. And it seems to me increasingly that Benedict understood in some way – on some aspects, not all --, that the situation was serious,” said the Australian Cardinal during the presentation last Tuesday of the book “Co-responsibility and Transparency in the Administration of the Goods of the Church,” by Francesco Lozupone. “I wish to stress that Pope Benedict tried seriously to improve the situation,” added the Cardinal.

In this regard, the Prefect mentioned that during the General Congregations held before the Conclave, many Cardinals spoke about the need for financial reform. “From the first days of Pope Francis’ pontificate, he understood that there was no one in the Holy See with an ability to explain in detail what was happening in a global way in the Vatican. Therefore, he established a group that we call COSEA,” he said.

This group is made up of experts in different areas and from different parts of the world, who worked for 10 months. “I think they worked very well. They prepared the program that we follow today to a great extent. And this explains the fact that in one year we have made substantial progress,” he continued.

Moreover, Cardinal Pell pointed out that co-responsibility means, in the first place, cooperation between clergy and the laity. In keeping with the Holy Father’s will for the reform of the financial world, the Vatican follows two principles: transparency and the procedures established by the modern world, he explained.

And over the past year, substantial progress has been made “with the approval of the Statutes,” he noted, adding that “we have the essential structure for the renewal of the financial world of the Vatican” and now this “must be implemented and we must act according to these procedures,” he concluded.