Pope Francis could be considering a reshuffle of the cardinals commission of the Institute for Religious Works, the so-called “Vatican bank,” also known by the Italian acronym of IOR.
Changes to the cardinals commission could be made as soon as a separate
pontifical commission delivers the conclusions of its recent analysis of
the Institute for Religious Works to the Pope.
Last year, Pope Francis charged the pontifical commission with drawing
up an “exhaustive” report into the juridical standing and activities of
the Vatican's financial institution.
The pontifical commission – issued via a chirograph with immediate
effect on June 24 – is chaired by Cardinal Raffaele Farina and is
composed of five people.
The IOR is a sort of central body of the Holy See. Its purpose is to
provide for the protection and administration of moveable and immovable
assets transferred or entrusted to the institute and destined for
religious works or charity. Financial transparency and successful
cooperation with Europe's anti-money-laundering agency Moneyval has
continued to remain a priority for the institution in recent years.
According to a source familiar to Vatican finances who spoke to CNA on
Jan. 7, the pontifical commission is meeting at least three days a week,
and a conclusive meeting with the Pope is scheduled on Feb. 13. After
that meeting, the Pope could carry out changes to the IOR group.
Retired pontiff Benedict XVI renewed the cardinals commission on Feb. 16
of 2013. Because members of the commission serve for five years, the
mandate of the IOR Cardinal Commission for Oversight will expire in
Benedict XVI nearly confirmed all the members of the IOR cardinals
commission: the then Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, and cardinals
Odilo Pedro Scherer, Telesphore Toppo, and Jean Louis Tauran.
Only Cardinal Attilio Nicora left the commission as he was also
president of the Authority for Financial Information, which could have
lead to a conflict of interest.
The cardinals commission is by custom chaired by the Cardinal Secretary
of State. As Cardinal Bertone is no longer in charge of the post,
Archbishop Pietro Parolin, now Secretary of State, would be inserted in
the ranks of the commission.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera maintained Jan. 5 that Pope
Francis will appoint Cardinal Santos Avril y Castello, archpriest of the
Roman Basilica Saint Mary the Major, as president of the cardinals
According to the 1990 chirograph that regulates the function of the
Institute for Religious Works, the Pope appoints the members of the
cardinals commission, while the commission “is chaired by the cardinals
the members of the commission choose.”
The cardinals commission convenes at least bi-annually and oversees the
compliance of the IOR with its statutory norms.