View From Rome
29 September 2016
View from Rome
Francis may be the Pope of mercy but there’s one thing he finds hard to forgive: corruption. He’s often warned about the dangers of backhanders and bribes – and when it comes to the Church, he’s determined to tackle it head on. That’s why last week he approved new rules to clean up the saint-making process which has sometimes been mired in allegations of favours and cash payments, exactly the sort of environment where corruption can flourish.
Under the latest guidelines, doctors examining cases of potential miracles may not be paid for their services in cash. Instead, there will be a relatively modest fixed-sum payment of just over €500 each – around £430 – for members of the panel of medical experts who sift through the evidence. Last week’s ruling follows the Pope’s announcement in March that donations to canonisation causes must be scrupulously monitored.
These moves to greater openness and accountability come after it was revealed in leaked documents that having an individual declared a saint can cost as much as €500,000, or £430,000, with little detailed information about how that money is spent. The announcement of the toughening up of the miracle approval process came on the day the Vatican signed a United Nations convention aimed at cracking down on bribery, embezzlement and money laundering.
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