Pope briefed on Vatican bank as he mulls its future

Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:26am EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A commission looking into the Vatican bank briefed Pope Francis and top cardinals on its findings on Tuesday ahead of a papal decision about what to do with the institution that has embarrassed the Holy See for decades.

The Vatican commission, which the pope set up in June, gave Francis and his eight-member advisory board of cardinals from around the world a three-hour briefing.

Afterward, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said no decisions on the bank's future had been taken.

He said the commission gave the pope and the cardinals an "ample and detailed" report on the current and past situation of the bank, and had offered "several possible indications" on its future.

Lombardi would not give any details. "We are waiting for indications from the pope," Lombardi said.

The pope has not ruled out closing the bank altogether if it cannot be reformed and has said he wants the Vatican to adhere to international standards of financial transparency.

There have been suggestions that a new ministry may be set up in the Vatican to deal with all of its financial matters, which are now handled by the bank and several other departments.

The eight cardinals from Italy, Chile, India, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, Australia and Honduras are advising Francis on how to reform the Curia, the Vatican's often dysfunctional central administration.   Continued...

Pope Francis celebrates a mass during his pastoral visit to the Saint Tommaso parish on the outskirts of Rome February 16, 2014. REUTERS/Remo Casilli