Pope clarifies duties of the Auditor General during sede vacante
Pope Francis issues a rescript clarifying the functions and characteristics of the office entrusted with auditing the institutions of the Holy See and Vatican City State.
The Office of the Auditor General will continue to exercise ordinary administration and accounting oversight even when the Apostolic See is vacant—that is, during the period between the death of the reigning Pope and the Conclave for the election of the new Pontiff. This is one of the points set out by Pope Francis in a Rescript published subsequent to the audience granted on 24 April to the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin.
The document specifies the tasks and characteristics of the work carried out by the body set up by Pope Francis himself in 2014 to undertake the auditing of the entities and bodies of the Holy See and Vatican City. The new rescript, published on 24 May, addresses some lacunae in the norms and aligns the 2019 statutes concerning the Auditor General with the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, published on 19 March 2022.
Specifically, Praedicate Evangelium states: “When the See is vacant, the Secretaries attend to the ordinary governance of curial institutions, taking care of ordinary business only.” However, the Constitution makes no specific provision for the figure of the Secretary within the Office of the Auditor General; that is, of one who can supervise and carry on the functions of the body. Therefore, with today's rescript the Pope provides “that ordinary administration, in the event of a vacant Apostolic See, shall not be interrupted and that the function of control continues to be exercised by the Office of the Auditor General under the supervision of the Cardinal Camerlengo.”
Another important point in the Rescript is the confirmation of the nature of the Office of the Auditor General. “For all that is not set forth in Art. 222-224 of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, issued on 19 March 2022, the provisions contained in the Statute of the Office of the Auditor General, which entered into force on 16 February 2019, shall be observed,” the document reads.
More precisely, it confirms the validity of paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 1 of the Statute of the Office of the Auditor General, which establishes its nature as an “Entity of the Holy See entrusted with the task of auditing the consolidated financial statements of the Holy See and the consolidated financial statements of the Governorate of Vatican City State.” It further establishes that the Office continues to be "the Anti-Corruption Authority under the Mérida Convention, in force for the Holy See and the Vatican City State since 19 October 2016.”