Pope Francis commits Vatican to ‘clean finance’ amid donation investigation

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Pope Francis met with around a dozen investigators from the Council of Europe’s agency involved with investigating financial crimes on Thursday and pledged that the Vatican would uphold “clean” finances.

The Associated Press reported that the Pope met with a team from Moneyval at the Vatican, where he praised their efforts aimed at “monitoring movements of money and of intervening in cases where irregular or even criminal activities are detected.”

“The measures that you are evaluating are meant to promote a ‘clean finance’, in which the merchants are prevented from speculating in that sacred temple which, in accordance with the Creator’s plan of love, is humanity,” said the Pope, according to the AP.

His meeting with the investigators comes as the Vatican has faced criticism over a decision by Francis’s former top deputy, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, to wire a sum of euros equaling just over $100,000 to a charity controlled by his brother. Becciu also reportedly urged a conference of Italian bishops make a $300,000 donation to the same charity.

Becciu has admitted the actions, but insisted that he did so solely out of support for the charity.

The visit from the Moneyval investigators was not reportedly linked to the scandal specifically; the Vatican, along with other European countries, submits itself to the agency for periodic review of its financial practices.

“Sometimes, in the effort to amass wealth, there is little concern for where it comes from, the more or less legitimate activities that may have produced it, and the mechanisms of exploitation that may be behind it,” the Pope reportedly told the investigators Thursday. “Thus, situations can occur where, in touching money, we get blood on our hands, the blood of our brothers and sisters.”

The Pope has pursued a progressive path for the Catholic Church since ascending to the papacy, and earlier this year urged all Catholics to refrain from investing in fossil fuels, urging the faithful to “shun companies that are harmful to human or social ecology, such as abortion and armaments, and to the environment, such as fossil fuels.”

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