Pope Francis has named eight cardinals and seven laymen as members of the newly created Council for the Economy, a body that will have extensive authority to set policy for the financial and management structures of Vatican City and the Holy See.
All but four of the 15 men he has appointed – there are no women – have been working up to this point on committees or commissions dealing with Vatican finances.
The Council will collaborate closely with the Secretariat for the Economy, led by Australian Cardinal George Pell. The Pope established both bodies on 24 February, initiating the biggest structural change in the Roman Curia in nearly half a century.
He named Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany to be the coordinator of the new Council. Both Marx and Pell are also among the Pope’s eight cardinal advisers (C8).
The Maltese economist and financial consultant, Joseph Zahra, is to be the deputy coordinator. He has been heading the ad hoc pontifical commission Pope Francis set up in July to suggest ways to reform the Vatican’s economic and administrative structures. The new Council is to begin its work immediately and hold its first full meeting in May.
Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office, said the new Council was not “merely an advisory organ” of the Secretariat of the Economy, but would be a body with its own authority for policy decisions. However, Cardinal Pell is charged with drawing up its statutes.
Pell and six of the eight cardinals appointed to the new body have been serving up to now on the 15-member Council (of cardinals) for the Study of Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, which now has been dissolved. The six are Cardinals Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne (Peru), Wilfrid Napier (South Africa), Jean-Pierre Ricard (France), Noberto Rivera Carrera (Mexico), John Tong Hon (Hong Kong) and Agostino Vallini (Italy). The other two members are Marx and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, a former Vatican official from the United States.
All but two of the seven lay members of the new Council also have been working for the Vatican on the pontifical commission headed by Mr Zahra, the deputy coordinator. They include Jean-Baptiste de Fransuu (France), a former CEO of Invesco Europe; economist Enrique Llano Cueto (Spain); management consultant Jochen Messemer (Germany); and George Yeo (Singapore), a former government minister and currently chairman of the Kerry Logistics Network. The other two lay members of the Council are John Kyle, a US-Canadian former vice-president of Imperial Oil (ExxonMobil); and Francesco Vermiglio, a Sicilian professor of business administration.
Read more: Pell named head of Vatican's new Council for the Economy 24 February 2014
Above: Pope Francis with Cardinal Pell. Photo: CNS/L'Osservatore Romano