VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Signaling further reforms of the Vatican City State penal code, particularly when it comes to financial crimes, Pope Francis said the laws must reflect “the equality of all members of the church” by doing away with “privileges that go back in time and are no longer in keeping with the responsibility of each for building up of the church.”
Meeting March 27 with the judges, prosecutors, investigators and other members of the Vatican’s state tribunal, the pope also encouraged efforts to facilitate international cooperation in investigations to ensure an accurate exchange of information in a timely manner.
Earlier in the week, the 42-page decision of a London judge was released explaining why he overturned a court order freezing the assets of a financier being investigated by the Vatican for extortion, fraud and money laundering in connection with the Vatican Secretariat of State’s purchase of multimillion-dollar property in London’s Chelsea neighborhood.
The judge said that in asking the British government to freeze the assets of Gianluigi Torzi, who helped broker the deal, the Vatican’s application contained “material non-disclosures and misrepresentations” that were, “in some instances, egregious.”
The Vatican court’s investigation into the property deal is ongoing.
Pope Francis told members of the Vatican court that the multiple changes enacted over the past eight years in the Vatican’s criminal code will be more effective “to the degree that they are accompanied by further penal reforms, especially for combatting and repressing financial crimes, and by the intensification of other activities aimed at making international cooperation between the investigative organs of the Vatican and analogous institutions of other nations simpler and speedier.”
Of course, he said, the effectiveness of legal measures to contrast crime in the Vatican, “especially in the economic and financial sphere,” also require that everyone involved “is always inspired by the founding principles of ecclesial life and, at the same time, takes into account the parameters and good practices in force on the international level.”
A “reality like the Catholic Church” is required to conduct itself in an “exemplary” manner, he said.
“We are called to witness, concretely and credibly, in our respective roles and tasks, to the immense patrimony of values that characterizes the church’s mission, to her being ‘salt and light’ in society and in the international community, especially in moments of crisis such as the present one,” Pope Francis said.
The papal audience was part of the ceremonies marking the beginning of the Vatican City State’s tribunal’s judicial year. The events began in the morning with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.
Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, joined members of the tribunal for both the Mass and the audience with the pope; it was his first meeting with Pope Francis since becoming prime minister in mid-February.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103