.- As the Holy See is waiting for the results of a planned financial inspection, Pope Francis spoke at the beginning of the judicial year of the Vatican City State Court, in which he participated for the first time, about ongoing financial reforms and investigations.
He said the Holy See was trying to comply with international law on February 15 and had put in place procedures to combat “illegality in the international financial sector”.
To this end, the Vatican has set up internal surveillance and intervention systems that “have recently exposed suspicious financial situations,” he said.
Situations that “go beyond any possible illegality are difficult to reconcile with the nature and purposes of the Church and have led to disorientation and discomfort in the community of believers.”
Speaking to the sponsor of the judiciary, prelate auditors, officials, lawyers and staff from the Vatican City State Tribunal, he said, “These are events the judiciary is aware of.” not pronounced on.
Pope Francis called it “positive” that the first reports of the potentially illegal activities came from internal Vatican authorities, demonstrating “the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement activities in accordance with international standards”.
“The Holy See is ready to continue on this path,” he said, not only with existing legislative reforms, but also with “new forms of judicial cooperation” that meet international standards and practices.
The speech by Pope Francis at the opening of the judicial year by the Vatican City State Court was the first of his pontificate. It was sometimes visited by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State.
The tribunal consists of three judges, a president and a notary, each appointed by the Pope.
In early October 2019, Pope Francis appointed a new president of the Vatican City State Tribunal, the Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone.
The date was announced just two days after The Vatican gendarmes conducted a search in the offices of the State Secretariat and the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF), which resulted in the suspension of five employees.
Among these five was the director of the AIF, Tommaso Di Ruzza, who, according to Pope Francis, is still suspended at the end of November on suspicion of “bad administration”.
In the meantime, the Egmont Group, through which 164 financial regulators exchange information and coordinate their work, suspended the AIF in mid-November.
The suspension was followed by the resignation of AIF President René Brüelhart five days later. His successor, Carmelo Barbagallo, was named by Pope Francis in late November.
Barbagallo announced on January 23 that the Egmont group had lifted the suspension and the AIF could resume working with foreign financial news.
Before being reinstated in the Egmont Group’s secure communications network, the Vatican Tribunal, according to ACI Stampa, had to guarantee the processing of confidential intelligence data obtained through investigations into the purchase and sale of a London property.
Moneyval, the Council of Europe watchdog to combat money laundering, is planned to conduct an inspection of the Vatican in the springafter the Holy See should send a report in December.
The inspection takes place after the Vatican agreed in 2012 to comply with a number of Moneyval’s “recommendations” and to incorporate them into internal guidelines.
CNA has reported a number of allegations regarding two major investments by the State Secretariat in the Vatican, one of which has been affected the Secretariat’s purchase of a London property earmarked for development into luxury apartments.
In his speech to the Tribunal on Saturday, Pope Francis spoke about justice and quoted Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew: “Because as you judge, you will also be judged.”
“These words shouldn’t scare us, but only spur us on to fulfill our duty with seriousness and humility,” he said.
The Pope emphasized the importance of personal conversion and that justice is accompanied by the other three main virtues of prudence, moderation and steadfastness.
If evil takes over the good in their inner life, “no judicial system could save us,” he said. “With this in mind, I invite everyone not only to feel involved in an external engagement that affects others, but also in the personal work in each of us. our personal conversion. “
“This is the only justice that creates justice!”
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