Pope calls for 'new mentality' on Vatican finances

Pope calls for 'new mentality' on Vatican finances

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis on Friday told the first meeting of a newly formed Vatican committee to reform Catholic Church finances that it should aim for transparency and helping the needy.

Francis told the group there should be a "new mentality" in the Vatican and a reform of the bureaucracy to ensure "it better serves the Church".

Francis created the group following accusations of financial mismanagement and fraudulent behaviour in the highest echelons of the Catholic Church, including in the Vatican bank and its real estate assets agency.

The committee represents "the Church's awareness of its responsibility in protecting and managing its assets carefully in view of its mission to evangelise and particularly to help the needy," the pope said.

"Do not abandon this path: transparency and efficiency for this aim," he said, adding: "It will not be easy and it will require courage and determination".

Francis was speaking a day after the first meeting of another Vatican committee he has set up to tackle the issue of child sex abuse by priests in response to a wave of scandals that have engulfed the Church.

The Vatican has vowed zero tolerance against predators.

It has also passed legislation and implemented measures to improve transparency at the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), the Vatican bank, as two of its former directors prepare to stand trial for money laundering.

A top Vatican accountant is also a defendant in a second trial for allegedly trying to smuggle money through Vatican bank accounts on behalf of a wealthy shipping company in order to dodge Italian taxes.

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