Any time money changes hands, there is a potential for financial misconduct, but the leaders of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority said the Holy See has made enormous strides in reducing its risks.
Rene Brulhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, respectively president and director of the office, released the FIA annual report on 21st May at a Vatican news conference.
Vatican City State’s unique status as an independent state and the headquarters of the Catholic Church – with missions and religious orders around the world – required the establishment of a “tailor-made system mainly to prevent illicit financial activities,” Brulhart said.
The Holy See has “fewer worries” of financial misconduct than most nations, “but this doesn’t mean we should not maintain preventive strategies, policies and measures,” Di Ruzza said. “Given the peculiarity of the Holy See, there is a level of caution, especially on a moral scale, that must be maintained.”
In 2018, the report said, the office received only 56 suspicious activity reports compared to 150 in 2017 and 207 in 2016. Eleven of the 56 reports were forwarded to the Vatican City court for further investigation and potential criminal charges.
Picture: Pope Francis celebrates the Easter Mass in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 21st April 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).