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Pope to Vatican employees: Lure of corruption is dangerous and ‘we must be vigilant’

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ACI Prensa Staff, Dec 12, 2023 / 10:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis received in an audience on Monday the members of the Office of the Auditor General, a Vatican body established by the Holy Father to implement some financial reforms in continuity with the work already begun by Benedict XVI.

The auditor general is in charge of auditing the accounts of the dicasteries of the Vatican Curia and the other institutions under the Holy See and the Vatican City State.

In his Dec. 11 talk, the pontiff highlighted three aspects and values that characterize this office: independence, attention to international practices, and professionalism.

Independence

The Holy Father noted that this office “is not organizationally under other bodies,” which involves “responsibility for operating in a manner that is always well-considered and inspired by the highest principle of charity.”

He stressed that “it is important that the spirit of fraternal correction always guide you, even when it is necessary to point out accounting and administrative practices that do not conform to the rules and situations to be corrected.”

“Let us remember these words that accompany correction: love and fatherhood, always, without giving in to the temptation of simple self promotion,” he noted.

The Holy Father encouraged them to collaborate with the other dicasteries of the Curia, especially with the financial agencies, avoiding “competition that can easily turn into rivalry.”

Attention to international practices

As a second aspect, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of maintaining attention to international practices.

He thus urged “promoting the application of the best [practices], promoting equity and alignment with the rest of the international community, as long as the norms do not contradict the teachings of the Church.”

Professionalism

Finally, he cited the need for constant training to acquire a certain professionalism, “a moral obligation for you to keep up to date with the constant evolution of the numerous and complex standards that govern auditing.”

“Certainly,” the pontiff continued, “those who work in the Holy See and in Vatican City State do so with fidelity and honesty, but the lure of corruption is so dangerous that we must be vigilant.”

For the Holy Father, this must be addressed “firmly and at the same time mercifully,” since “scandals serve more to fill the pages of newspapers than to thoroughly correct behavior.”

Finally, he invited the members of Office of the Auditor General to help those responsible for the administration of the assets of the Holy See “to create safeguards” that can prevent “the very insidiousness of corruption” from materializing.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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