You know that feeling when you find a bit of cash that’s slipped between the sofa cushions or was otherwise misplaced? “Cool, I forgot about that!”
The Vatican is probably experiencing something similar right now, but to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros:
In an article for Britain’s Catholic Herald Magazine to be published on Friday, Australian Cardinal George Pell wrote that the discovery [of previously unaccounted for money] meant overall Vatican finances were in better shape than previously believed.
“In fact, 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 wrote.
In the Vatican’s particular case, the money seems to have been less “lost in the couch cushions” and more “hidden in a hollowed out book in a secret room behind false paneling.” Cardinal Pell, who was appointed by Pope Francis to implement a number of financial reforms in the Vatican, noted that
… Very few [Vatican departments] were tempted to tell the outside world what was happening, except when they needed extra help.
Corruption and money laundering were among the concerns for some of the more “suspicious” Vatican accounts, which have since been closed. Pope Francis has sought to address this poor management and corruption in a number of ways, including shifting financial oversight away from individual departments and to Cardinal Pell and the Secretariat for the Economy. Further, Vatican departments will now need to provide accurate financial documents that will be audited by an outside firm.
Aside from the decidedly pleasant surprise of turning up hundreds of millions of previously unaccounted euros, these are simply good money management practices and practical reforms. And Cardinal Pell is confident in the success of the changes, writing that they are “well under way and already past the point where the Vatican could return to the ‘bad old days’.”
I guess this means Church officials will soon let everyone know they don’t need any more of your money. Right…?
(Image via Shutterstock)