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Of all the criticism that has appeared on this blog about Francis, the bishop of Rome, the one reform that I think Francis should be commended for is the creating the Secretariat for the Economy, and appointing Cardinal Pell as its’ prefect. Having said that, I still do not think that the Vatican should proceed like a publicly listed company, providing a annual set of financial statements to the general public, but this information should must be available to the Roman pontiff at all times.

Below I am reproducing an article which appeared at the U.K.’s Catholic Herald (see here), in which card. Pell provided some insights into the true situation of the Vatican’s finances. The title of the story is funny since it has to do with the Cardinal finding give or take 100’s of millions Euros in the Vatican’s undisclosed accounts. Brings to mind the Everett Dirksen quote about “a million here and a million there, and pretty soon we are talking about serious money”. But I digress… Now, any organization, regardless of its market capitalization, can not afford the luxury of having this kind of loose change lying around unaccounted for. Therefore, what this fact tells me is something that I have suspected for quite a while, and that is that the Vatican is not a financial basket case as has been presented from time to time in the media.

Furthermore, if you dear reader will recall, there were also rumors circulating around the time of Benedict’s resignation abdication, that the said abdication was one the once hand the result of a bad financial position that the Vatican found itself in and on the other hand pressure placed on Benedict by wealthy benefactors to resign. (see here) Oh well, so much for the collapse. Another media narrative debunked, but unfortunately post factum. But this also leaves the lingering question that if Benedict would have known about those “hundreds of millions” of euros in those Vatican accounts, would he have still abdicated?

And here is where I would like to strongly support the suggestion made on the Rorate Caeli blog (see here), for an investigative reporter to research just what was the cause of Benedict’s resignation. From what I have observed about the Rorate Caeli blog, if they did not have credible information that something was “rotten in the State of Denmark”, they would not have put that suggestion out there in the first place.

Now to the article with my emphasis and [comments], and a short conclusion.

We’ve discovered hundreds of millions of euros off the Vatican’s balance sheet, says cardinal

Cd. Pell

Cardinal George Pell offers candid account of financial reforms in an exclusive article in the first issue of the new Catholic Herald magazine

Vatican reformers have discovered hundreds of millions of euros that did not appear on the Holy See’s balance sheet, the cardinal charged with sorting out the Curia’s financial affairs has said. [Wonder it this information has anything to do with our Lukewarm Nuncio being so intend on getting that return ticket back to the Vatican? Somebody had to know about the hundreds of millions of Euros just lying around collecting dust. (see here)]

Writing exclusively in the first issue of the new Catholic Herald magazine, Cardinal George Pell says that the discovery means that the Vatican’s finances are healthier than they first appeared. [Lends credence to the “financial squeeze” theory behind Benedict’s abdication.]

He writes: “It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke. [Dispelling the errant implication.] Apart from the pension fund, which needs to be strengthened for the demands on it in 15 or 20 years [After all those “Aggiornamentized” foot soldiers of the New Springtime will have gone on to meet their eternal destiny (see here)] , the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments.

“In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet. [Oh how I am feeling the Lukewarn Nuncio’s pain.] It is another question, impossible to answer, whether the Vatican should have much larger reserves.” [see here]

Cardinal Pell was appointed prefect of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy in February, making him the most senior English-speaking official in the Vatican.

He explains that reformers had to tackle an ingrained sense of independence among Vatican departments.

“I once read that Pope Leo XIII sent an apostolic visitor to Ireland to report on the Catholic Church there,” he writes. “On his return, the Holy Father’s first question was: ‘How did you find the Irish bishops?’ The visitor replied that he could not find any bishops, but only 25 popes.

“So it was with the Vatican finances. Congregations, Councils and, especially, the Secretariat of State enjoyed and defended a healthy independence. Problems were kept ‘in house’ (as was the custom in most institutions, secular and religious, until recently). Very few were tempted to tell the outside world what was happening, except when they needed extra help.”

The cardinal suggests that for centuries unscrupulous figures took advantage of the Vatican’s financial naïvety and secretive procedures.

Vatican finances were unregulated and allowed to “lurch along, disregarding modern accounting standards”. But no longer: new structures and organisations are bringing Vatican finances into the 21st century, and making their workings transparent, with full accountability.

The cardinal writes: “A German princess once told me that many used to think of the Vatican as being like an old noble family slowly sliding towards bankruptcy. They were expected to be incompetent, extravagant and easy pickings for thieves. Already this misapprehension is dissolving.

“Donors expect their gifts to be handled efficiently and honestly, so that the best returns are achieved to finance the works of the Church, especially those aimed at preaching the Gospel and helping the poor escape from poverty. A Church for the poor should not be poorly managed.[“helping the poor escape poverty”… I like that line. Almost like the “giving the man a fishing rod” proverb. Wonder what our Social Warrior modernists are thinking about their new financial overlord? And the follow-up question is how long until the plotting starts, if it hasn’t started already.]

Cardinal Pell says the involvement of lay experts is a fundamental part of the financial reforms. In the New Year, the Vatican will name a lay person as auditor general. [This suggestion I like. And this is the ONLY lay person who should be in the Vatican upper management] This new figure will be answerable to the Pope, but autonomous and able to conduct audits of any agency of the Holy See at any time.

“These reforms are designed to make all Vatican financial agencies boringly successful, so that they do not merit much press attention,” the cardinal writes. “Such ambitions cannot ensure that we will not find some static on the lines in the next year or so. But we are heading in the right direction.”

The cardinal also discloses that bishops around the world are eager to learn lessons from the Vatican’s financial overhaul. [Oh my. Looks like the modern day “Bernardins” will not be able to pay off their disgruntled rent boys from diocesan slush funds! (see here)]

“The responsibilities of the Secretariat for the Economy are limited to the Holy See, Vatican City State and the almost 200 entities directly answerable to the Vatican,” he writes. “But already some cardinals and bishops have wondered aloud whether the new set of financial procedures and chart of accounts, introduced in November this year in the Vatican, might be sent to bishops’ conferences for consideration and use. This is something for the future.”

Summa Summarum

As you can see dear reader, two things are very important to take away from this article. The first is this: even the 50 year New Springtime could not bankrupt an organization with the longest business continuity in the history of the world, i.e. the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, when this generation of despicable modernists goes on to their just reward, the Holy Spirit will have ample resources to “restore all things in Christ”. And the second takeaway it this: the most effective weapon against the Modernists is the pocket book. Therefore, if you dear reader want to help the Holy Spirit carry out it’s stated mission, please choose the parish that you attend and the envelopes into which you put your hard earned money very, very carefully.