Cardinal George Pell has spoken of his surprise at the apparent extent of “criminality” involved in recent Vatican financial scandals. Source: CNA.
In an interview with Associated Press on Monday, Cardinal Pell, who led the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy from 2014-2017, said that he regretted that his efforts to bring tough mechanisms for financial transparency and accountability had been vindicated by the details of recent scandals.
Cardinal Pell said he knew, from the time Pope Francis put him in charge of a key part of his curial reform agenda, that the Vatican finances were “a bit of a mess”.
But he “never, never thought it would be as Technicolor as it proved”. "I didn’t know that there was so much criminality involved,” Cardinal Pell said.
Until 2017, Cardinal Pell led an effort called for by Pope Francis to bring order and accountability to the Vatican’s finances, which have long lacked centralised procedures, controls, or oversight, claiming at one point to have discovered hundreds of millions of euros being kept “off books” from the ordinary Vatican accounts.
He told AP that the rolling series of financial scandals appeared to show criminal behaviour, but that a full Vatican trial could eventually establish the whole truth. “It just might be staggering incompetence,” he said.
It was Cardinal Pell's first interview since returning to Rome after his conviction-turned-acquittal on sexual abuse charges and ahead of the December 15 release of the first volume of his jailhouse memoir, Prison Journal.