On Monday April 26, 2021, Pope Francis signed a new motu proprio “on the provisions relating to transparency in the management of public finances” of the Holy See, to strengthen the anti-corruption provisions already in place.
This new normative text indeed complements the motu proprio of May 19, 2020, which specified the “standards on transparency, control and competition in public contracts of the Holy See and the State of Vatican City.” It aimed to impose standards to fight corruption in the area of public contracts.
These new rules are likely to be the work of the Financial Supervisory and Information Authority (ASIF), which had its powers strengthened last year. The text introduces special obligations “for persons occupying key positions in the public sector.”
In a practical way, the motu proprio imposes, firstly, the obligation of a declaration for all the members likely to exercise a responsibility in the financial field within the Curia or the government of Vatican City, on all levels. This declaration must be signed upon taking office and renewed every two years.
The persons concerned certify in this way: not to have been convicted of a criminal offense, or to have benefited from an amnesty; not be subject to criminal proceedings for offenses related to corruption, terrorism, or exploitation of human beings; not to hold any stake in companies located in countries targeted as being susceptible to money laundering; that all their property comes from lawful activities; not to hold any participation in companies operating in sectors contrary to the social doctrine of the Church; and lastly, not to hold interests in companies located in countries that are “non-cooperative” from a tax perspective.
On the other hand, the persons concerned by the motu proprio cannot “accept or solicit, for themselves or for third parties, by reason or on the occasion of their function, donations, gifts or other advantages of a value greater than forty euros.” It is no longer a diet, it is a perpetual fast.
It is admirable to note the vigor and steadfastness of Pope Francis for putting in place sound and corruption-free finances within Vatican City, and for all the structures subject to the Holy See. This shows that he can have a firm and tenacious will to achieve this goal.
He seems to have the same will to fight against what threatens the planet, to draw humanity into a UN fraternity, and to have the entire world population take the anti-covid vaccination.
But when it comes to defending faith or protecting morals, the will for this seems to be deeply lacking. Both the lamentable deviations of the German synodal path, and the support given to civil partnerships for homosexuals are striking proof of this.
By supporting causes which concern mainly the political and material domain, and by defaulting on those which concern the supernatural and ecclesial domain, Pope Francis is failing Jesus Christ, for whom he is the vicar on earth.