Pope takes 1st step to reform of Vatican finance

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has taken the first major step toward reforming the Vatican's outdated and inefficient bureaucracy, creating an economics secretariat responsible for all economic, administrative, personnel and procurement functions.

Australian Cardinal George Pell was named prefect of the new ministry Monday. He reports to a new 15-member economy council of eight cardinals reflecting various parts of the world and seven lay experts.

The secretariat will cover the finances of the Holy See — the central governing structure of the Catholic Church — and the Vatican City State, the 44-hectare city state in central Rome which includes the profit-making Vatican Museums and Vatican's post office.

Francis made the decision after appointing a commission last summer to recommend ways to improve efficiency and transparency in the Holy See's management.

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