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Pope creates new commission of inquiry for finance

July 23, 2013

On Friday, Pope Francis formed another inquiry commission into the Vatican's disturbed finances, naming an eight-member committee to recommend ways to slash waste, improve transparency and fix the Holy See's administrative shortcomings.

This is a signal by Pope Francis of big changes which would coming in as he responds to demands by the cardinals who elected him to overhaul the dysfunctional bureaucracy that runs the 1.2 billion strong Catholic Church. The Vatican said Friday that the aims of this third commission were to "simplify and rationalize" the Holy See administration and plan its spending.

It is made up of seven lay people and a Vatican monsignor, who will recommend reforms to avoid wasting money, improve transparency in buying goods and services, better administer the Vatican's vast real estate holdings and ensure correct accounting principles, among other things, according to the legal document creating the commission.

Francis is clear about his thoughts regarding tolerance for waste, financial or otherwise, denouncing consumerism and the world's "throw away" culture. His main priority is reaching out to the world's poor and marginalized with a more missionary church. He has also proven himself to be a decisive administrator, seeking counsel from others but acting alone.

The Holy See posted a 2.2 million euro ($2.85 million) budget surplus for 2012. The Vatican City State, which runs the profit-making Vatican Museums, post office and supermarket, has a separate budget. Its profits were 23.08 million euros, up from 21.8 million euros in 2011.

Combined, the Holy See and Vatican City State employ about 4,760 people. 

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