The Pope Puts the Secretariat of State on a Strict Diet

November 17, 2020
St. John’s Tower, seat of the secretariat for the economy

Pope Francis has decided to transfer all funds managed by the Secretary of State to the Patrimony Administration of the Apostolic See (Apsa). They will in the future be under the control of the secretariat for the economy, once ruled by Cardinal George Pell. A decision in the form of victory and rehabilitation for the high Australian prelate.

The decision - made public on November 4, 2020 - had been in the works since last August, when Pope Francis wrote to his Secretary of State to notify him of a decision "of the highest importance", taken " in order to avoid unnecessary and harmful overlaps, fragmentation or duplication.”

However, it took another two months, which saw the disgrace of former secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Maria Becciu, amid a financial scandal, to bring the reform process to fruition.

The transfer has historic significance, as the funds of the Secretary of State were until now considered the assets of a "third bank", after Apsa and the Institute for Roman Works (IOR). The amount is estimated at over one billion euros, managed through the Paul VI fund and the Denarius of Saint Peter.

These funds were used as collateral to obtain two major mortgage loans, allowing the purchase of the London building at 60 Sloane Avenue, following a dubious transaction involving several people, including Bishop Becciu, although he did not. defends.

The fact that the Argentine pontiff had to intervene twice, by a letter dated August 25, 2020, and by chairing a meeting on November 4, shows how strong the resistance is on the side of the State Secretariat.

A reform, on the other hand, which sounds like a victory for Cardinal George Pell: the high Australian prelate had denounced the opaque management of the powerful secretariat of state, while he was prefect of the secretariat for the economy, and had asked this transformation in July 2014. But the process was interrupted by the implication of Cardinal Pell in a case of abuse, of which the Australian justice definitively washed it in 2020.

Since then, a judicial investigation has been opened, because seven hundred thousand euros would have been transferred from the Secretary of State to Australian accounts: from there to say that the opponents of Cardinal Pell would have sought to eliminate a prelate too embarrassing, he This is just a step that several Italian media have not hesitated to take.

The reform pioneered by Pope Francis must be completed within three months: in order to ensure the transition period a "commission of passage and control" has taken office with immediate effect. It is made up of three members: the deputy of the secretary of state, the president of Apsa and the prefect of the secretary of the economy.

The Pope would also have demanded, during the meeting of November 4, 2020, that everything be done to "get out of the London investment as soon as possible." As predicted by Huffpost, the cleanup is not yet complete and more substantial changes will take place in a few months ...