Pope: The Secretariat of State will no longer manage its own funds
Yesterday’s decision implements a request Francis made by letter in August. The latter says: “Particular attention must be paid to the investments made in London and the Centurion fund, from which we must exit as soon as possible, or at least, dispose of them in such a way as to eliminate all reputational risks".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Secretariat of State of the Holy See will no longer manage its own funds, which become the responsibility of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) in fulfilment of a decision Pope Francis made yesterday to implement a decision he made last August.
Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin attended yesterday's meeting, along with the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra; the Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State, Bishop Fernando Vergez; the President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, Bishop Nunzio Galantino; and the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Fr Juan Antonio Guerrero.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, made public the decision yesterday, adding that in yesterday’s meeting the Pope set up a Commission of transfer and control, which comes into operation with immediate effect. It includes Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, and Fr Juan Antonio Guerrero.
The Pope’s decisions are directly connected to what was in the letter he sent on 25 August, whose content was made public only today. The latter says that the changes are “part of the reform of the Curia”.
It goes on to say that “the Secretariat of State is without a shadow of a doubt the Dicastery that most closely and directly supports the action" of the Pope "in his mission, representing an essential point of reference in the life of the Curia and the Dicasteries that are part of it. However, it does not seem necessary or opportune that the Secretariat of State should perform all the functions that are already assigned to other Dicasteries. It is preferable, therefore, that the principle of subsidiarity be implemented also in economic and financial matters, without prejudice to the specific role of the Secretariat of State and the indispensable task it performs".
In light of this, Francis directed that the Secretariat of State to "transfer the management and administration of all financial funds and real estate assets to APSA, which will in any case maintain their current purpose."
The letter continues, saying: “Particular attention must be paid to the investments made in London and the Centurion fund, from which we must exit as soon as possible, or at least, dispose of them in such a way as to eliminate all reputational risks.”
The reference is to two investments blamed on Mgr Angelo Becciu, who officially resigned on 24 September renouncing to all of his cardinalate privileges.
The “investments made in London” concern the Sloane Avenue property, the purchase of which began when Becciu himself was a Substitute in the Secretariat of State. The Centurion fund instead is a Maltese fund in which Vatican funds were placed.
From now on, the Secretariat of State will operate in economic and financial matters "by means of a budget approved through the usual mechanisms, with its own procedures required of any Dicastery, except for reserved matters that are subject to secrecy, approved by the Commission for control appointed for this purpose".
The Secretariat for the Economy will have control and supervision over all the entities of the Roman Curia. In economic and financial matters, the Secretariat of State “shall have no responsibility for the supervision and control of any Entity of the Holy See, nor of those things connected with it.” (FP)