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Pope Francis spearheads Vatican financial reforms

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Pope Francis today has issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio, or “on his own initiative,” transferring a part of the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, or APSA, the Vatican department that has been at the center of some controversy in the Holy See, to the newly-formed Secretariat for the Economy headed up by Sidney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell. APSA had been the department responsible for the controversial Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), often called the Vatican Bank.

“I consider it appropriate for the Secretariat of the Economy to assume among its institutional competences, from now on and in accordance with the methods and times established by the relative Cardinal Prefect, those tasks which were previously attributed to the so-called 'Ordinary Section' of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and, therefore, to transfer to the aforementioned dicastery the competences which the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor bonus' of 28 June 1988 had entrusted to that Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See,” Pope Francis wrote, in a move that will place the Vatican Bank directly under the Secratariat that Pope Francis has created. The Pope’s move also creates a commission which will be primarily tasked with helping to facilitate the transfer of responsibilities from the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See to the Secretariat for the Economy, the primary responsibility being the oversight of the agency known as the Vatican Bank.

“I decree that the measures decided in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio be observed in their entirety, notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary, even when worthy of special mention, and that it be published in the daily newspaper 'L'Osservatore Romano', entering into force on the day of its promulgation,” the Pope wrote, giving force to his papal wishes by publishing his motu proprio in the Vatican’s official written media organ.