.- Archbishop Domenico Calcagno has been appointed by Pope Benedict as the head of the Vatican’s financial policy department, following the resignation of Cardinal Attilio Nicora earlier today.
However, Cardinal Nicora will stay on as head of the Vatican’s financial watchdog body, the Financial Information Authority. The paring down of Cardinal Nicora’s duties is being seen, in part, as a further attempt by the Vatican to comply with international rules on money laundering.
“If the Holy See hopes for success in getting onto the European Union’s ‘White List,’ this is a move it has to make,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said to CNA July 7. The “White List” is the E.U.’s register of countries that are in compliance with the union’s rules aimed at combating money laundering.
“If you are in charge of an economic institution it is better if the same person isn’t also responsible for monitoring it,” Fr. Lombardi said.
“There were procedural ways to make sure there was no contradiction in duties but the situation is clearer now.”
The Vatican financial policy body—officially called the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See – was created in 1967 to administer the estates of the Holy See and provide the necessary operating funds for the Roman Curia.
The Financial Information Authority was created by Pope Benedict XVI in late 2010 after Italian prosecutors seized 23 million Euros (32 million dollars) of Vatican assets as part of a money laundering investigation. The funds were released back to the Vatican in June 2011, with no further action being taken.
Cardinal Attilio Nicora has been in charge of the Vatican monetary policy department since 2002. At 74-years-old the Italian cleric would have tendered his resignation next year.
Given that the Financial Information Authority is not a department of the Roman Curia, Vatican officials have told CNA he will be able to stay on as head of that organization beyond his 75th year.
Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, 68, is also Italian. For the past four years he has been the secretary of the policy-making body. He will now be replaced in that role by Monsignor Luigi Misto, who is presently in charge of the finances for the Archdiocese of Milan.