HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
The Vatican Adopts Rules for Disclosing Assets and Receiving Gifts

Pope Francis has published a document determining the procedure for disclosing assets and receiving gifts by the Vatican’s employees.

The Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio Regarding Provisions on Transparency in the Management of Public Finances, which entered into force on 29 April 2021, introduces a number of amendments in the General Regulations Governing the Roman Curia.

In particular, the document states that the individuals having managerial functions must sign a declaration in which they certify:

  • that they have not been convicted of and are not subject to investigations for offences related, in particular, to corruption, fraud and laundering of profits of criminal activities;
  • that they do not hold, even through a third party, cash, movable and immovable properties which constitute proceeds of crime;
  • that they do not hold, even through a third party, shareholdings (interests) in companies in countries included in the list of jurisdictions with a high risk of money laundering or the financing of terrorism, or in tax havens;
  • that they do not hold, even through a third party, shareholdings (interests) in companies that operate for purposes contrary to the Social Doctrine of the Church.

In this context the individuals having managerial functions include:

  • those employed at or appointed to functional levels C, C1, C2 and C3, from Cardinal Heads of Dicasteries to Deputy Directors holding five-year contracts;
  • those having functions of active jurisdictional administration or of control and supervision.

The declarations should be presented upon taking up the office and every two years thereafter. They will be kept by the Secretariat for the Economy. Where reasonable grounds are present, the Secretariat may verify the truthfulness of the declarations.

An unfiled declaration or a knowingly false declaration constitutes a serious disciplinary offence punished by a dismissal and entitles the Holy See to a claim for any damage incurred.

In addition, the document prohibits the Vatican’s employees at all levels from accepting or soliciting, for themselves or for other persons, by reason or occasion of their office, gifts, presents or other benefits of a value greater than 40 Euros.

The amendments shall take effect 90 days after the date of publication of the document.

In spite of the fact that the Motu Proprio regards only the officials of the Roman Curia, it stipulates that other institutions of Vatican City State, including, among others, the Governorate and the Tribunals, must amend their regulations in accordance with the Apostolic Letter.

This document, along with the previous Motu Proprio containing Norms on Transparency, Control and Competition in Public Contracts of the Holy See and Vatican City State is one more step in the implementation of measures aimed at combating conflicts of interest, patronage practices and corruption, particularly in the area of public finance, taken by the Vatican in the run-up to the mission of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL).

The media citing the head of the Catholic Church stress that during his papacy Pope Francis has witnessed all kinds of corruption-related abuses: money or gifts to influence the selection process, fast-track causes for sainthood (the sainthood price-tags reached up to €750,000) and for other purposes (for instance, silencing of sexual abuse scandals), misappropriation of funds (as in the case of London elite property investment) or investments that are out of step with the Church’s social doctrine (see, for instance, the recent leaks about investments in the production of the morning-after pill) or out of law (as in the case of investments through banks linked to corruption and money laundering). The Pontiff believes that this document will prevent such practices from occurring in the future. 

Conflict of interest
Asset disclosure

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