On Saturday, Jan. 25, Pope Francis appointed Vincenzo Buonomo, who has worked with the Holy See for over 30 years and is a dean at the Pontifical Lateran University, as an advisor to Vatican City.

The appointment demonstrates the Roman Pontiff's balance between seeking the counsel of outside experts as well as those who have been long associated with Vatican structures.

Buonomo has served as dean of the civil law department at the Lateran University since 2006, a department at which he began teaching in 1984. He has authored books and articles on international law and organizations, which have contributed to the protection of human rights and religious freedom around the world.

He is office chief of the Vatican's delegation to the U.N. Organisations and Entities for Food and Agriculture, where he has served since 1993. And on Jan. 16, he assisted in presenting a Holy See report on children's rights to the U.N.'s child rights committee.

Buonomo is also a member of the advisory panel on religious freedom at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and consults for the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers.

According to a source familiar with the Vatican Secretariate of State, Pope Francis is "keeping a balance in consulting the external experts and men of the internal institutions when it is needed."

In past months, the Vatican has hired four large international consulting firms to improve financial accounting procedures and to streamline media operations.

The four companies are Ernst & Young and McKinsey for what concerns communications, and Kpbmg and Promontory Financial Group for what concerns financial auditing and the screening of both the Institute for Religious Works and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

Pope Francis also established two pontifical commissions to study the Institute for Religious Works and to consider a streamlining of the 37 Vatican administrations.

The pontifical commission for the Institute for Religious Works has almost sketched out its conclusions out which will be presented to Pope Francis Feb. 13 by Cardinal Raffaele Farina, the commission's chairman.

Now that studies are ongoing and reports begin to arrive at the papal offices, Pope Francis has appointed one of the Vatican's own as an advisor to the city-state, thus balancing the need for specialists with the need to strengthen Vatican institutions.

Buonomo's appointment also represents a continuity with the pontificate of Benedict XVI, as he was informally a consultant to Benedict's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, with whom he is close. The two are so close that Cardinal Bertone has chosen Buonomo to edit a book collecting his addresses as secretary of state.