Pope Francis has further updated the statutes of the Institute for the Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, clarifying the roles of different supervisory bodies and limiting the terms of service of various authorities.
After having completely restructured the institute in mid-2019, the pope said he saw a need for a further update “consistent with the most modern organizational requirements as well as with the operational needs that arise daily in the institute’s activities.”
In a document signed by the pope on 30th January, and published by the Vatican on 7th March, Pope Francis said the update particularly seeks “to clearly and distinctly define the areas of respective competence and responsibility of the organs of the institute most involved in its management — strategic and operational-while still maintaining the spirit of close and loyal cooperation.”
Those two bodies are the Commission of Cardinals, which oversees the institute’s adherence to its statutory norms and decides how the institute’s earnings are to be allocated, and the Board of Superintendence, composed of seven experts in economics and finance, who are nominated by the Commission of Cardinals and set strategic goals and policies for the institute and monitor its progress.
The members of both bodies are appointed to five-year terms that can be renewed only once, according to the pope’s new statutes.
The new rules also specified that “each member of the Board of Superintendence shall abstain from participating in voting on resolutions in which he or she has an interest, actual or potential, on his or her own behalf or on behalf of third parties.”
For 2021, the institute reported making a profit of 18.1 million euros as it served 14,519 clients-mostly cardinals, religious orders and Vatican employees. The purpose of the institute, the pope wrote in both the 2019 and 2023 statutes, is “to provide for the custody and administration of movable and immovable assets transferred or entrusted to it by natural or legal persons, and intended for works of religion or charity.”
Picture: The main entrance of the Institute for the Works of Religion, known colloquially as the Vatican bank (CNS photo/Paul Haring)