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Cleaning Up Finances of the Vatican

The Holy See accepts to undergo a cleanup operation of its finances and align itself with international norms to promote transparency.

In an effort to continue reforming the finances of the Vatican, Pope Francis has issued a decree, laying down binding norms that ensure transparency and prevent corruption by Vatican officials involved in the management of such finances. One of the measures prohibits all Vatican employees to accept or solicit money or gifts valued at more than $50. 

Since taking over as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has strived to reorganize the administration of the Holy See and clean up corruption in the Vatican.   

It has been common practice to offer money or gifts to officials in order to speed up canonization processes, to win favors, or to influence appointments of persons. Some of the investments have been dubious and contradicted the social doctrine of the church. Last year, the pope dismissed one of the most influential personalities at the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, for allegedly directing church funds destined for the poor to his family members. 

Following this string of financial mismanagement cases, Pope Francis decided to introduce a rigid code of conduct aimed at safeguarding the principle of transparency and avoid conflict of interests.  

The Holy See has adhered to the United Nations Convention against Corruption by complying with the best practices to prevent and combat corruption in its various forms. From now on, Vatican officials will have to abide by international norms and practices for the purpose of combating corruption and conflict of interests. 

Employees and officials of the Holy See will be obliged to sign a declaration when they are hired, certifying that they have never been convicted nor the subject of any pending criminal trials or investigations regarding corruption, fraud, terrorism, money laundering, exploitation of minors or tax evasion.

Curia officials will not be allowed to hold cash, investments, or stakes in corporations or companies in places at high risk of money laundering. They must also vow that they are not connected in any way to the financing of terrorism, tax havens, or companies whose policies are against the church’s social doctrine. 

With these norms in place, Pope Francis sends a clear message that it is time for the Church to lead in the combat against corruption. The Holy See accepts to undergo a cleanup operation of its finances and align itself with international norms to promote transparency. The Church is acting on its doctrines and preaching, thereby setting an example to institutions and governments. 

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