Vatican City, Mar 31, 2015 / 10:48 am
Tuesday's appointment of Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, together with Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki's commission as a member of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, signals that Vatican financial reform continues and that curial reform will need time to become effective.
Cardinal Versaldi, 71, has served as president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See since 2011, and was transferred to the Congregation for Catholic Education March 31.
The prefecture has lost many of its competences since the Secretariat for the Economy, the Council for the Economy, and the Office for the General Auditor were established with the February 2014 motu proprio Fidelis Dispensator et Prudens.
Previously entrusted with oversight of the Vatican's balance sheets, the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs had seen most of its competences taken over by the Secretariat for the Economy.
The secretariat issued a "financial policy management" handbook and started training Vatican employees so that they could conform to the new standards for balance sheets.
On the other hand, the Council for the Economy took over the competences of financial address and programming entrusted to the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs.
A source who works in Vatican finances told CNA March 31 that "the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs should be suppressed in May."
Cardinal Versaldi replaces Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, 75, who had served as prefect of the dicastery for 14 years and was appointed by St. John Paul II.
The appointment confirms that the Congregation for Catholic Education will remain a key body in the ranks of the Roman Curia, despite speculation about a new "super-Congregation" comprised of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Catholic Education – an option that is not seemingly being considered anymore.
On the other hand, Cardinal Versaldi's promotion leaves the field open to carry forward the financial reform.
Another Vatican body going toward a financial reform is the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
In October 2013, a reform of APSA's statute assimilated the functions of the consultors to those of the members of an advisory board, the first step of a reform that is intended to make of APSA a sort of Vatican central bank.
APSA's ordinary section was transferred to the Secretariat for the Economy in July, while the extraordinary section will be responsible of maintaining relationships with all the main central banks, in order to – a July 9 Holy See press office bulletin reads – "continue guaranteeing the Holy See's liquidity and financial stability."
However, the appointment of Cardinal Woelki as APSA member is meaningful, as the Archbishop of Cologne's views are quite far from those of Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Muniche and Freising, who serves as Coordinator of the Council for the Economy and a member of the Council of Cardinals.
Cardinal Woelki comes as well from the wealthy and influential Church in Germany, and his appointment is likely intended to balance Cardinal Marx' views.