Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Alfred Xuereb March 3 as prelate secretary general for the Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy, which will oversee economic and administrative affairs in the city state.
Msgr. Xuereb, 55, is from Malta’s Diocese of Gozo, and has served as Pope Francis’ personal secretary.
He served on Benedict XVI’s staff as a personal secretary beginning in September 2007, a post he held until he was transferred to Pope Francis’ staff shortly after his election.
Prior to his new appointment, Msgr. Xuereb has also served as a delegate of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank. He has also served on the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See.
The Secretariat for the Economy is headed by a prefect, Cardinal George Pell, who was appointed Feb. 24 when the dicastery was created. As prelate secretary general, Msgr. Xuereb will serve as Cardinal Pell’s deputy at the secretariat.
Msgr. Xuereb will assist Cardinal Pell’s work in implementing policies approved by a new 15-member Council for the Economy. The council includes eight cardinals or bishops from different parts of the world and seven lay experts with “strong professional financial experience.”
Pope Francis created the secretariat by his motu proprio “Fidelis dispensator et prudens.” The motu proprio emphasizes that the Church must safeguard and carefully administer her material goods “in light of her mission of evangelization, with special care for the needy.”
The Council for the Economy has “oversight for the administrative and financial structures and activities of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the institutions linked to the Holy See, and the Vatican City State,” the motu proprio states.
The secretariat is “directly responsible to the Holy Father and is competent for the economic control and vigilance over the agencies” of the Holy See and the Vatican, “including policies and procedures concerning purchasing and the suitable allocation of human resources, with due regard to the competencies proper to each agency. The competence of the Secretariat therefore extends to all that in whatsoever manner concerns such material.”
As prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal Pell will act in collaboration with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State.
The Secretariat for the Economy will also include an auditor general; no one has yet been appointed to the position.