Vatican needs 'change of mentality', transparent finances: Pope

Fri May 2, 2014 11:29am EDT
 
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Vatican administrators need a "change of mentality" and must ensure that the Holy See's finances are efficient, transparent and primarily aimed at helping the most needy, Pope Francis said on Friday.

The pope made his comments in an address to the members of a newly formed body called the Council for the Economy, a 15-member group of prelates and lay people from around the world which will be setting economic policy for the Holy See and exercising oversight.

"A new mentality of service to the gospel should take root in the various administrations of the Holy See," Francis said. The new council will have "a significant role in this process of reform", he said.

Francis' appointment of the outside council of experts, whose members were named last month, was his latest attempt to come to grips with what he has called a hidebound and self-centered Vatican administration.

The 15 council members come from 12 countries. None is a Vatican bureaucrat. They will give economic policy guidance to a new department called the Secretariat for the Economy, headed by Australian Cardinal George Pell. Pell is also an outsider who has held no previous job in the Vatican.

The establishment in February of both the secretariat and the council as well as the position of an auditor-general revolutionized the Vatican's scandal-plagued finances by inviting outside experts into a world often seen as murky and secretive.

Francis, who was elected in March 2013 with a mandate for reform, told the council members that the Church's finances had to be in the service of "its evangelical mission with particular concern for the needy."

"We must not stray from the path - transparency, efficiency. It is all for this aim," he said.   Continued...

 
Pope Francis passes next to a tapestry of the late Pope John Paul II, as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 30, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi