Pope Francis held a meeting this morning with top officials of various offices, dicasteries, congregations and councils of the Roman Curia.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE PATRIMONY OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE (APSA)
Vatican News continues with its inside look at the history, objectives and “mission budgets” of the various Vatican offices assisting the Pope in his pastoral ministry. Featured here is the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See with an interview with its President, Bishop Nunzio Galantino.
Alessandro De Carolis – Vatican City (vaticannews)
Their work is a sign of maximum transparency. The daily management of the Holy See’s patrimony specifically characterizes the reform initiated by Pope Francis in the last few years. It is with this in mind that APSA published its 2020 financial reports last July. Its profit amounted to €21.99 million, down €51.2 million from the year before. These numbers reflect the consequences of Covid. For APSA’s President, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, everything is geared toward the goal of a “trustworthy and credible administration” conducted according to the desire of the Pope, with “an exemplary style in line with the Church’s mission”.
In the wake of what Benedict XVI began, Pope Francis embarked on a path characterized by reasoning and transparency in the management of the Vatican economy and finances in 2014, to the point of redesigning APSA’s role with the Motu proprio On temporal goods, dated 4 July 2016. What have the criteria, motivations and practical consequences been behind this process?
The centralization of economic management Pope Francis desired is only the conclusion of a much broader and important process begun, as you have recalled, by Pope Benedict XVI. It is a process of reasoning for the purpose of transparency and to be in control of everything that concerns the management and administration of the resources of the Holy See—without there being any areas where controls are absent. With utmost respect for those involved and the institutions, I think that submitting to a clear procedure and accepting these controls is the minimum that can be done so that the administration is trustworthy and credible. Everywhere. Even in the Vatican.
Certainly, there is a change of mentality in play that we are addressing under the guidance of Pope Francis. This type of change is always difficult to achieve quickly and together, in any sector or structure. It seems that what is being done, thanks to the procedure put in place, is going in the right direction. I am referring to the publication of the Norms regarding contracts, accompanied by the Motu proprio that defined the correct procedure and choices; to the constitution of the “Commission for Confidential Matters”, to the procedure for the Acts of extraordinary administration; to the centralization of investments and to the definition of key procedures, that permit traceability, transparency and controls. The process is a long one, but with the Lord’s help and for the good of the Church, we think it can be done.
The last part of this process, in terms of chronology, was last December with the Motu proprio Regarding Certain Competencies in Economic and Financial Matters by which the Pope entrusted the management of the Secretariat of State’s financial investments and immovable goods (property) specifically to APSA. What significance and what practical implications did this decision have?
In virtue of the Motu proprio of December 2020, APSA has taken over the administration and management of resources that had been previously available to the Secretariat of State. Regarding the changes that have taken place, I must say that what is required of me, of the Secretary of this Dicastery and all our collaborators has certainly increased. All of us must ensure a transparent, competent and productive management, both in terms of quality and quantity.
The Pope continues to require of APSA and all the other Vatican entities involved in the field of administration an exemplary style in line with the Church’s mission. He requires this so that the Church’s proclamation and evangelization might also be credible through the reputation of those called to proclaim and witness to the Gospel. It would be difficult for a Church with little crediblity to find people who would be open to welcoming the Word of God. And then, being inserted into the social context, the Church is obliged to observe all the laws that regulate social and economic life.
This change also touched Peter’s Pence, since doubts and news about the management of this fund left the faithful disoriented who are called to participate through their own donations in the Church’s and the Pope’s mission. We would like to clarify the purpose of these offerings and where they end up.
Peter’s Pence is a contribution that comes from the local churches to sustain the Holy Father’s mission and his works of charity. The exercise of the Pope’s ministry in the Church and the world requires structures and personnel that need to be maintained and compensated for the professional service they provide. This encompasses all the rights needed for this. The Church sustains those activities connected with its mission through donations and income generated from its patrimony.
The costs sustained by the Holy See go toward material charity and evangelization: the payment of its employees’ salaries, and costs associated with spiritual, intellectual and social charity. This is what the Dicasteries are for: to guarantee the Church’s communion in the world, to communicate the Church’s teaching, the exercise of justice, the implementation of works of charity.
Peter’s Pence is one of the channels of income that contribute to sustain the two-dimensional characteristic of the Pope’s ministry (apostolic and charitable) that he carries out through the structures of the Roman Curia. Their operating costs – including salaries for approximately 5,000 Vatican employees – are subsidized through offerings, donations and revenues generated by the Holy See’s patrimony, since the Holy See cannot rely on an internal system of taxation.
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