Pope Francis has named Australian Cardinal George Pell to run a new finance ministry overseeing the Holy See’s economic affairs, in a move aimed at increasing transparency following a wave of scandals at the Vatican bank.
The ministry will prepare an annual budget for the Vatican as well as imposing international accounting standards and reporting practices.
“The Holy Father today announced a new co-ordination structure for economic and administrative affairs of the Holy See and the Vatican State,” it said in a statement on Monday.
The Vatican says the move followed recommendations made by cardinals advising the Pope including for a “more formal commitment” to international standards.
The changes “will ensure better use of resources, improving the support available for various programs, particularly our works with the poor”, it said.
Pell will head the new ministry, formally a “Secretariat for the Economy”, which will be governed by a 15-member council of eight clergymen from different parts of the world and seven lay international financial sector experts.
Pell is Australia’s most senior Catholic and current Archbishop of Sydney.