Pope Francis is pushing forward with his reforms of Vatican finances with a new law that tightens oversight over Holy See invest-ments and ensuring greater transparency.
The move comes as the Vatican continues its investigation into a disastrous €350 million London property investment which had been overseen by the Secretariat of State, the body which sits at the heart of the Church’s central administration.
The new law, which cames into effect on 1 January 2021, removes the Secretariat of State’s power to manage investments and property holdings and hands that authority to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA). APSA oversees the bulk of Vatican investments and also acts as the equivalent of a treasury.
The Pope has also ruled that APSA will also take over control of Peter’s Pence from the Secretariat of State. The Peter’s Pence fund is derived from donations made from Catholics across the world and its purpose is to help the Pope run the Holy See and fund charitable projects.
Francis’ legislation comes after a letter he wrote in November authorising that APSA would take over the management of the Secretariat of State’s funds. In that letter the Pope called for the Vatican to exit the investment in 60 Sloane Avenue “as soon as possible.”
By 4th February 2021, the latest law explains, the Secretariat of State must transfer all “cash funds” in Vatican or foreign bank accounts, “securities and real estate investments,” and investments in companies or investment funds to APSA to manage. In turn, APSA will be held accountable to the Secretariat for the Economy, which has a general oversight role.