Citing Jesus' efforts to cast out the merchants from the temple, Francis praised the evaluators' work and policies aimed at monitoring movements of money and of intervening in cases where irregular or even criminal activities are detected.
The measures that you are evaluating are meant to promote a 'clean finance', in which the merchants are prevented from speculating in that sacred temple which, in accordance with the Creator's plan of love, is humanity, Francis said.
The pope didn't mention the scandal in his own backyard, but it couldn't have been far from the evaluators' minds given the headlines of recent weeks and months that have thrown the Vatican into chaos.
Francis last month fired the former No. 2 in the secretariat of state, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, after revelations that he wired 100,000 euros (USD 117,000) in Holy See funds to a charity controlled by his brother. Becciu also recommended the Italian bishops' conference donate some 300,000 euros to the same fund.
Becciu has admitted he sent the money and made the recommendation, but denied any wrongdoing and insisted that the money was meant for the charity, not his brother.
Becciu's ouster came amid an investigation by Vatican prosecutors into the secretariat of state's investment into a luxury London real estate venture that to date has cost the Vatican 350 million euros, much of it donations from the faithful.
Becciu was involved in the initial investment, but his successor - the current No. 2 in the secretariat of state - actually authorized payments of tens of millions of euros in fees to the allegedly unscrupulous middlemen most implicated in the venture.
Vatican prosecutors have been investigating the London investment for over a year, but haven't handed down any indictments. Given Vatican officials signed contracts giving voting control and management fees to the middlemen, it's unclear what if any crimes might have been committed.
Italian newspapers have been rife with reports about the Vatican's other financial investments, including in risky, speculative funds controlled by the middlemen.
Francis has previously defended the Vatican's decision to invest donations in real estate, saying that keeping the money in a safe wouldn't generate necessary interest to keep the capital from losing its value.
But Francis has also denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality of today's global economy, and cited his own documents denouncing financial speculation and the idolatry of money that has taken root.
Sometimes, in the effort to amass wealth, there is little concern for where it comes from, the more or less legitimate activities that may have produced it, and the mechanisms of exploitation that may be behind it, he told the Moneyval evaluators Thursday.
Thus, situations can occur where, in touching money, we get blood on our hands, the blood of our brothers and sisters.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.