Vatican City, Apr 29, 2021 / 04:50 am
As part of a sweeping new anti-corruption law, Pope Francis on Thursday declared that officials of the Roman Curia should no longer accept personal gifts with a monetary value over 40 euros (about $50).
The new rule appears to be an effort to quash the Vatican “envelope” culture, in which large monetary donations are made to bishops and cardinals working in the Roman Curia.
These gifts have been blamed for contributing to corruption in the Church when they were used between high-level Church officials to seek favors, most notably in cases like that of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The new directive says that Vatican officials must not “accept or solicit, for oneself or for subjects other than the Entity in which they serve, for reasons or on the occasion of one’s office, gifts, presents or other benefits of a value exceeding 40 euros.”
Pope Francis’ April 29 apostolic letter, issued in the form of motu proprio (“on his own impulse”), added this rule to the General Regulation of the Roman Curia, along with other requirements ensuring that Vatican personnel who handle the Vatican’s economic affairs are not involved in financially corrupt or illegal behavior.
In the motu proprio on “provisions on transparency in the management of public finance,” Pope Francis said that, “according to Scripture, fidelity in small things is related to fidelity in important ones.”
Referencing Luke 16:10, he added, “just as being dishonest in matters of little consequence is also related to being dishonest in important matters.”
The pope said that the new law was intended to bring the Holy See and Vatican City State further in line with international best practices on corruption and financial transparency, building off of his May 2020 motu proprio on transparency in the awarding of public contracts.