Pope Francis tightens controls on saint-making spending

Pope Francis has introduced stricter financial controls on the Vatican's saint-making operations, months after two books revealed that outlandish sums of money have been paid in the past to promote holy candidates.

Canonization - another word for sainthood - happens after a lengthy process that requires the intervention of lawyers specialized in church law, theologians and cardinals, who have to assess the moral virtues of would-be saints.

In a statement, the Vatican said Francis introduced new rules, including a requirement to open separate financial accounts for each candidate, and for spending to be detailed in annual reports to be subjected to outside scrutiny.

In a change from current practice, the Vatican panel that deliberates on sainthood decisions, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, "may control [..] any fees or other expenses" linked to the process, the statement said.

In November, two books came out on Vatican financial scandals - Merchants in the Temple by Gianluigi Nuzzi and Avarice by Emiliano Fittipaldi. They revealed that saint-making expenses were undocumented and could be as high as 750,000 euros (836,000 dollars).

The books were based on leaked papal documents. The Vatican reacted to the publication by starting a trial against the two Italian investigative journalists behind the scoops - in a move that attracted international condemnation.

Court proceedings are due to resume on Saturday after a three-month pause.

Last update: Thu, 10/03/2016 - 19:45

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