Europe

Vatican finds millions 'tucked away', says Cardinal Pell

  • 5 December 2014
  • From the section Europe
George Pell at a church meeting last year Image copyright AFP
Image caption Cardinal Pell wants to make Vatican finances "boringly successful"

The man responsible for the Vatican's finances says he has found millions of Euros "tucked away" off balance sheets.

Cardinal George Pell, who heads the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, said it meant the Holy See's finances were better than expected.

He made the comments in the Catholic Herald, in an essay outlining his vision for the Vatican.

Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Pell as part of his efforts to reform the Church and make it more transparent.

"It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke," Cardinal Pell wrote. "Apart from the pension fund (...) the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments.

"We have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of Euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet," he added.

There have been a number of scandals at the Vatican Bank, most recently last year when allegations were made the bank had been used by money launderers.

Cardinal Pell did not say any wrongdoing had been found but said Vatican departments long had "an almost free hand" with their finances.

Pope Francis' reforms, he said, were "already past the point where it would be possible to return to the 'bad old days'".

They aimed to make Vatican finances "boringly successful", he added.

At the time of Pope Francis' election, Cardinal Pell - who is Australian - had been vocal in his calls for financial reform.

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