Pope Francis issued a fresh condemnation of greed on Thursday in an address to financial transparency experts who have come to review the Holy See’s books.
Since last week, a team from the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee against money laundering and terrorism finance has been at the Vatican for an official audit.
Recalling the biblical tale of Jesus driving out the merchants from the temple, the pope said people should never “become servants of money.”
“This is a form of idolatry against which we are called to react by re-establishing the rational order of things […] whereby money must serve, not rule,” he said.
With the experts, Francis talked up recent Vatican financial reforms, including new public procurement rules, which he said were “aimed at ensuring transparency in the management of money.”
Vatican progress on the issue has been called into question after the shock resignation on Oct. 24 of a member of the pope’s inner circle, Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
Becciu left as head of the Vatican’s sainthood department and gave up his cardinal rights after Francis directly accused him of using Vatican charity funds to help a cooperative run by his brother.
The cardinal was previously under scrutiny over a luxury property investment in central London that happened under his watch and on which the Vatican incurred large losses.
A criminal probe is ongoing over suspicions that, as part of the deal, the Vatican was defrauded by unscrupulous middlemen, possibly with the complicity of people working under Becciu. (dpa/NAN)