The Pillar—Pope Francis has issued a new Vatican law that aims to combat corruption by senior officials in the curia and in the city state, and that bars investments in companies or businesses “contrary to the social doctrine of the Church.”
The new law also aims to end customary cash gifts exchanged among Church officials and those with whom they work, by prohibiting officials from receiving nearly any gift of cash. Such gifts came under heavy criticism in the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal.
The law comes days after the Vatican faced criticism for past investments in pharmaceutical companies which produce abortifacient drugs, and ahead of a new report on the Vatican from international anti-money laundering watchdogs.
The pope published on Thursday a motu proprio, “On provisions on transparency in the management of public finances,” which provides new standards for senior officials, including a required declaration of their personal financial interests and an affirmation that they are not subject to international criminal investigations.
The new rules also single out specific behaviors by curial officials and senior churchmen subject to media criticism in recent months, and even days, suggesting that Francis is continuing to take direct legal action in the light of the ongoing financial scandals at the Vatican.
Specifically prohibited are “shareholdings or interests of any kind in companies or firms operating for purposes and in sectors contrary to the Social Doctrine of the Church.”