Vatican City, Jan 10, 2014 / 02:07 am (CNA).- Pope Francis could be considering a reshuffle of the cardinals commission of the Institute for Religious Works, the so-called “Vatican bank,” also known by the Italian acronym of IOR.
Changes to the cardinals commission could be made as soon as a separate pontifical commission delivers the conclusions of its recent analysis of the Institute for Religious Works the to the Pope.
Last year, Pope Francis charged the pontifical commission with drawing up an “exhaustive” report into the juridical standing and activities of the Vatican's financial institution.
The pontifical commission – issued via a chirograph with immediate effect on June 24 – is chaired by Cardinal Raffaele Farina and is composed of five people.
The IOR is a sort of central body of the Holy See whose profits are at the Pope's disposal. Its purpose is to provide for the protection and administration of moveable and immovable assets transferred or entrusted to the institute and destined for religious works or charity. Financial transparency and successful cooperation with Europe's anti-money-laundering agency Moneyval has continued to remain a priority for the institution in recent years.
According to a source familiar to Vatican finances who spoke to CNA on Jan. 7, the pontifical commission is meeting at least three days a week, and a conclusive meeting with the Pope is scheduled on Feb. 13. After that meeting, the Pope could carry out changes to the IOR group.
Retired pontiff Benedict XVI renewed the cardinals commission on Feb. 16 of 2013. Because members of the commission serve for 5 years, the mandate of the IOR Cardinal Commission for Oversight will expire in 2017.
Benedict XVI nearly confirmed all the members of the IOR cardinals commission: the then Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, and cardinals Odilo Pedro Scherer, Telesphore Toppo, and Jean Louis Tauran.
Only Cardinal Attilio Nicora left the commission as he was also president of the Authority for Financial Information, which could have lead to a conflict of interest.
The cardinals commission is by custom chaired by the Cardinal Secretary of State. As Cardinal Bertone is no longer in charge of the post, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, now Secretary of State, would be inserted in the ranks of the commission.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera maintained Jan. 5 that Pope Francis will appoint Cardinal Santos Avril y Castello, archpriest of the Roman Basilica Saint Mary the Major, as president of the cardinals commission.
According to the 1990 chirograph that regulates the function of the Institute for Religious Works, the Pope appoints the members of the cardinals commission, while the commission “is chaired by the cardinals the members of the commission choose.”
The cardinals commission convenes at least bi-annually and oversees the compliance of the IOR with its statutory norms. According to the source who spoke to CNA, the next meeting of the cardinals commission will take place Jan. 13.