Catholic Church hails George Yeo's Vatican role

Archbishop William Goh said the Church will give him all the support it can as Mr Yeo (above), the only Asian member in the eight-member committee, carries out his responsibilities for the Vatican.

SINGAPORE - The Catholic Church in Singapore has hailed the appointment of former foreign minister George Yeo to a special Vatican commission set up by Pope Francis I.

Official Vatican news release on the setting up of the commission

The Holy Father, by a chirograph dated 18 July, has established a Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See.

The Commission will gather information, report to the Holy Father and co-operate with the Council of Cardinals for the study of the organisational and economic problems of the Holy See, in order to draft reforms of the institutions of the Holy See, with the aim of a "simplification and rationalisation of the existing bodies and more careful planning of the economic activities of all the Vatican Administrations".

As explained in the Chirograph, the Committee will "offer the technical support of specialist advice and develop strategic solutions for improvement, so as to avoid the misuse of economic resources, to improve transparency in the processes of purchasing goods and services; to refine the administration of goods and real estate; to work with ever greater prudence in the financial sphere; to ensure correct application of accounting principles; and to guarantee healthcare and social security benefits to all those eligible".

The Commission will be able to collaborate, on request, with the working Group of eight Cardinals in drafting a plan for the reform of the Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus" on the Roman Curia.

The aims and the appointments of the Commission are described in detail in the Chirograph itself.

The members of the Commission are laypeople, experts in "legal, economic, financial and organisational matters", currently eminent consultants or reviewers for Vatican or ecclesiastical economic institutions. The only member of the clergy is the Secretary.

The eight members are:

Dr. Joseph FX Zahra (Malta), President
Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda (Secretary of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs), Secretary
Mr Jean-Baptiste de Franssu (France)
Dr. Enrique Llano (Spain)
Dr. Jochen Messemer (Germany)
Ms. Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui (Italy)
Mr. Jean Videlain-Sevestre (France)
Mr. George Yeo (Singapore)

Dr. Zahra and Dr. Messemer are International reviewers of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

The Commission will begin its work as soon as possible. A first meeting is scheduled for shortly after the Holy Father's return from Brazil.

The Holy Father hopes for a happy and productive collaboration between the Commission and the Vatican Administrations associated with its work.

George Yeo's various ministerial positions over the years
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: BH, BT, ST, MFA, TNP, Wanbao, Zaobao)

Reactions to Mr Yeo's new posting:

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan

"They couldn't have found a better man for this sensitive and difficult task. We are all proud of George Yeo."

Archbishop William Goh

"We are pleased that Mr Yeo has accepted this heavy responsibility and we have every confidence that he will make invaluable contributions to the Church through his work in this commission and do us proud."

Saleem Akhtar

"Congratulations George! Indeed an honour befitting of your statue and contributions."

Kevin Goh

Congratulations Sir! What an honour!