Pope’s Letter Hints at Vatican Power Struggles

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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 27, 2015   

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VATICAN CITY, October 27, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis penned a letter Tuesday hinting at power struggles in the Vatican.

Addressed to his secretary of state, Cdl. Pietro Parolin, head of the Roman Curia, the letter said "certain problems have emerged ... in relation to which I intend to take prompt action."

Not indicating what those problems are, the Holy Father went on to sternly remind Curia leaders to obey the existing structures and regulations covering things like salary caps, hires and transfers.

Some speculate the letter may have been directed in part at Cdl. George Pell, Secretariat for the Economy, who has been aggressive in his attempt to bring financial accountability to the scandal-ridden Vatican Bank. No evidence indicates, however, that Pell has ever been remiss in obeying curial regulations, so it remains mere speculation.

The letter comes in light of the Holy Father's continuing efforts at curial reform, his most recent change involving abolishing two longstanding pontifical councils to be replaced with a single dicastery on family and laity.

The full text of the letter follows:

While the process of reform of various structures of the Roman Curia, to which the Council of Cardinals I instituted on 28 September 2013 is dedicating its attention, is continuing in accordance with the established program, it is necessary to note that certain problems have emerged in the meantime, in relation to which I intend to take prompt action.

I wish first to state that the current period of transition is not a time of vacatio legis. Therefore, I confirm that the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus and subsequent amendments thereto remain in full force, along with the General Regulations of the Roman Curia.

Since compliance with the common rules is necessary both to guarantee the orderly conduct of work in the Roman Curia and in the institutions connected to the Holy See, and to ensure equitable treatment of employees and collaborators, also in economic terms, I order that the provisions in the aforementioned documents, as well as in the Regulations for lay staff of the Holy See and Vatican City State and the Regulations of the independent Commission for the evaluation of the recruitment of lay staff in the Apostolic See, be scrupulously observed.

Accordingly, all staff hiring and transfers must be carried out within the limits established by staffing plans, excluding any other criterion, with the nulla osta of the Secretariat of State and in compliance with the prescribed procedures, including reference to the established parameters for remuneration.

The above, to the extent compatible with their Regulations, is valid also for the Governorate of Vatican City State and the dependent Institutions of the Apostolic See, although not expressly indicated in the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus, with the exception of the Institute for the Works of Religion.

I therefore request, Your Eminence, that the provisions I have mentioned be brought to the attention of all the Superiors of the Dicasteries, the Offices and Bodies of the Roman Curia, as well as the Commissions, Committees and connected Institutions, as well as the Governorate, highlighting in particular the aspects requiring special attention, and that supervision of compliance be exercised.

I thank you for your collaboration and, in communion of intentions and prayer, I cordially greet you in the Lord.


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