Pope Francis’ finance minister will now be moving into the permanent offices of his new economy secretariat after receiving criticism for taking residence in the Vatican Bank four months ago. Australian Cardinal George Pell’s move comes amid major reorganization of Vatican’s financial structures -- an effort by the pope to reform the Vatican’s administration.
Earlier, critics had questioned if Pell’s occupation of the spacious office of the bank’s president was a way of showing an increased assertion over the bank. Subsequently, questions were also raised on who really led the bank -- the commission or Pell -- the Associated Press (AP) reported. The latest step clarifies that Pell will not have any direct authority over the bank, which is officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion, and is managed by cardinals who directly report to the pope.
Pell’s spokesman said, in a statement on Tuesday, according to the AP: "Office moves were planned months ago and the timing is now right, particularly given the recent promulgation of the statutes, new nominations and the need to relocate some staff from the tower" due to a recent water damage. The spokesman added that the decision did not have anything to do with concerns from the cardinals’ commission or the pope.
The spokesman said, according to the AP, that the move will help Pell work more efficiently and closely with his employees, who currently reside in the tower at the opposite end of Vatican gardens.
Pell's Secretariat for the Economy -- which has a supremacy over all economic activities of the Holy See and the Vatican City State -- is taking a part of the Vatican office that oversees the financial assets of the Holy See and moving it to the offices in the Apostolic Palace, the AP reported. Pell was roped in by Pope Francis to improve Vatican’s financial structure and bring in more transparency, budgeting accountability and internationally accepted accounting standards.