Pope acts on saint-making ‘abuses’

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Pope Francis has made combating perceived corruption in the Vatican a priority since becoming pontiff

Pope Francis has brought in new regulations for the Vatican’s process of making saints after allegations of abuses in the system.

Two recent books claimed officials get huge payments for investigating candidates for sainthood, with little control over how they spend the money.

The new rules mean external oversight of the bank accounts concerned.

Pope Francis has made reform of the Vatican a priority of his papacy, including perceived corruption.

The new rules set out the mechanism by which donors supporting a candidate for sainthood pay for the services of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican office responsible for reviewing candidates for sainthood.

How does someone become a saint?

The rules call for an administrator to be named for each prospective saint, and they must “scrupulously respect” the intention of each donation.

The administrator must keep a running tab on expenditures and donations, prepare an annual budget and be subject to the oversight of the local bishop or religious superior.

However, the rules do not specify how much money should be given by donors.

The costs to the Vatican of investigating candidates can be high, if lots of travel is necessary to collect testimony and conduct research about the candidate’s life, including establishing whether they performed miracles.

However, recent books by Italian journalists alleged that there was no oversight over how some donations were spent and that candidates supported by wealthier donors were likely to have cases resolved more quickly.

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