PopeWatch: Pope Stands Behind Pell




Now, this is interesting:

Pope Francis on Tuesday stood behind his embattled finance czar Cardinal George Pell, signing a series of statutes consolidating Pell’s authority and giving him sweeping powers to oversee Vatican finances. The controversial cardinal, the former archbishop of Sydney, had recently become the subject of a smear campaign to discredit him.

Last year, Pope Francis tasked Pell with cleaning up Vatican finances, long plagued by scandal and corruption. He appointed him head of a powerful new ministry known as the Secretariat of the Economy, where Pell – known for his no-nonsense management style and unblinking tenacity – reportedly ruffled a lot of feathers, particularly in the Italian-dominated curia.

Pell implemented new measures for transparency and accountability applicable to all Vatican departments, including those that had never had any financial oversight whatsoever. He further irritated critics when he announced in February that he had discovered $1.5 billion in assets that the Vatican did not know it had, due to muddled accounting practices. Also in February, he issued a new procedure requiring Vatican department heads to sign a legally binding document stating that their financial statements were accurate and complete.

Pell met with increasing resistance. Critics said Pell went beyond his mandate to clean up finances, and wanted to centralize power in a “superministry.” One influential Italian cardinal suggested creating a panel of cardinals to oversee Pell, and exempting some of the biggest Vatican departments from his financial control altogether.

Last week, his critics went even further, and the pugnacious Pell became the target of an old-style Vatican smear campaign. Italian weekly L’Espresso published leaked documents and receipts painting Pell as a profligate spender, despite his mandate to impose financial discipline. The magazine alleged Pell spent money on business flights, furniture, and tailored clerical robes, and said the pope confronted Pell about his spending.

The Holy See press office quickly issued a statement saying the attack against Pell was “unjustified and petty,” and condemned the leaks as illegal. The next day, the Secretariat of the Economy — Pell’s office — dismissed the allegations as “completely false,” the alleged conversation between Pell and the Pope as “a complete fiction,” and said that the operational costs of setting up the secretariat were actually under budget.

Go here to read the rest.  Cardinal Pell was a champion of orthodoxy at the Synod.  The Pope now backing Pell demonstrates that power relationships in the Vatican are frequently opaque when viewed from the outside.

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  1. He appoints cafeteria Catholic McElroy as bishop of San Diego, the darling of the pro-abort Catholics in America and at the same time stands up for conservative
    George Pell. Well what’s in store for Pell next week? Real Catholics are on Francis’ hit list so the good cardinal shouldn’t get too comfortable with his new job. Kaspar and Wuerl will find a way to get rid of him before October.

  2. “I am more and more confused by Pope Francis every day.” – Paul V. Primavera.
    But that is the whole point. That is the strategy. That is the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  3. Paul W Primavera on Thursday, March 5, A.D. 2015 at 8:49am
    I am more and more confused by Pope Francis every day.

    Cardinal Pell’s job is to essentially build the infrastructure for a system of budgeting, and management and financial accountability. That is one aspect of both Curial and Vatican reform which cannot be left to an ideologue practicing his ideology. Accounting, finance, and economics have rules and realities. Those realities combined with the need for a man who fears not political combat leads to only a couple of qualified choices to head this aspect of reform.

    Now what you likely won’t see is a disclosure and public reprimand of the Pell attackers by the Pope…hold those who are attempting to undermine Pell openly for account of their misconduct. We know the Pope is not shy about such public reprimands and criticisms, and that such a public reprimand of the Pell attackers would be curative. One suspect may be Marx who is openly hostile to Pell’s proposed reforms. Yet Marx remains one of the Pope’s core advisors on the “other” issues.

    I don’t see inconsistency though at this point I would pray for confusion as a reprieve from my concerns about things Vatican.

  4. Pope wants control of the money – he can tolerate an honest orthodox man for that long. Look out when the mission is accomplished – any more small Islands in need of a Cardinal?

  5. The pope stands behind Cardinal Pell, but what is that long, sharp object in the pope’s hand? Beware, your eminence.

  6. When I say that first Our Father of the Rosary for the Pope, I pray that my apprehensions will one day be revealed as the working of the Holy Spirit in this most confusing man. At on point I was tempted to call him “Ill Papa” instead of ‘il Papa” but despite the pun, I have refrained in doing so.

  7. The finances of the Vatican were/are a mess. The European banking system said it was corrupt and had no transparency. It takes a hard nosed person, assisted by top people from the big public accounting firms, to bring this into line. Of course many in the Vatican are fighting this. All of a sudden they don’t have the $1.5 billion in extra money they had squirreled away in private accounts. Cardinal Pell is about the temporal, not the theological. He will likely leave in a few years when the systems are in place and working.

  8. The Pope backing Pell is a clear message to the minglers that he means business when it comes to financial reform. The Vatican Bank was used a means for money laundering by organised crime for years- what does it say when the head of the bank shot himself- other than the claws of the mafia were deep. They’ll do anything to derail the Popes reform efforts; smear campaigns included- or in this case- attempt to turn the Pope against his appointed Cardinal- a divide and conquer approach. And it’s good to see the Pope isn’t gullible enough to bite the bait. Bravo to the Pope! He has stayed on course.
    The Pope is supporting Cardinal Pell because he trusts him. Period. The cardinal doesn’t undermine him. Which can’t be said about a number of other Cardinals. This is the key to gaining the Popes support and a trend evident through most of his appointments.

    And if the Cardinal does his job and retires from the position in a number of years, it is because he has done his job- a mutual agreement between the Pope and Cardinal. Cardinal Pell is not young. He had his head bowed with a look of complete exhaustion at a wedding my family went to last year where he was a guest of honour, before he departed Sydney. It was during the time of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse. He was exhausted- physically and emotionally. Him taking up the financial position was a breath of air for him. But it looks like the trouble has followed him. I feel sorry for Cardinal Pell.

    We hold up the Pope and Cardinals to a standard of perfection that none of us could ever live up to. Our Church leaders are human beings. And need to be cut some slack. This I keep reminding myself.

  9. Ezabelle, I am willing to cut some slack for the Pope, the Cardinals and the bishops and priests. What I am not willing to overlook is when they seek to sabotage or attack certain members of their own flock. The current Roman Pontiff has done this numerous times.

    I can understand that Cardinal Pell would be exhausted. The thinking in Latin countries, be they of Europe or of Latin America, is not what it is in the English speaking world. Corruption is a much more common aspect of life.

  10. Ok the Pope isn’t being sabotaged by his own. He’s doing all of the sabotaging. Right.

    It’s funny, on one hand you want the Pope to lead, and in the other hand you want him to heed to the Cardinals who “pull him in line”.

    We all have our own personal criticisms of the Pope and the Church, and they’re valid. But until he breaks Church Teaching, everything else is insignificant politics.

    If you loved the Church, and the Pope, you should end every criticism you express with a prayer for both.

  11. I don’t go into Papolatry and I won’t stop being critical of his views that offend traditional Catholicism. His hired hatchet man to take apart the FFI was found guilty of defamation of the founder of the FFI. In so many words, Father Volpi is a proven liar. The Roman Pontiff has done nothing to help the FFI or discipline Father Volpi.

    Don’t bother reading the Remnant.

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