Cardinal George Pell was appointed by Pope Francis to sort through the mess that was the Vatican’s finances. Pope Francis hoped to free up more of the Catholic Church’s finances to help the poor. However, it seems the plans may have backfired, as reports indicate Cardinal Pell has spent nearly $600,000 in church funds in just six months on his “lavish Vatican lifestyle.”
The Inquisitr previously reported that Pope Francis brought in Cardinal Pell in an attempt to rein in the Vatican’s finances with new transparency policies introduced in November of last year. In the process of sorting through the finances, the Holy See’s economic chief, Pell, says he discovered hundreds of millions of euros not on the balance sheet.
“We have discovered that the (Vatican’s financial) situation is much healthier than it seemed. Some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet.”
It seems that after finding the hundreds of millions of euros and a healthier financial situation for the Holy See, Pell saw it fit to spend a little of it. The Los Angeles Times reports that Cardinal Pell has been accused of “spending about $560,000 in six months by flying business class and using large sums on salaries and office furniture.”
Cardinal Pell was the archbishop of Sydney, Australia, prior to his move to Rome to spearhead the financial reform. At the start of the financial reform project, Pell told Catholics across the globe that he planned to free up “millions if not tens of millions” of dollars for the church each year. He showed promise, initially finding the off-the-books holding worth hundreds of millions of euros. Therefore, $560,000 must seem like a drop in the bucket to the Cardinal.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the $560,000 was used by Pell for a number of questionable expenses including a $21,600 a month salary for his personal secretary he brought with him from Australia. If a $259,200 a year salary for a secretary isn’t overkill enough, Cardinal Pell is also accused of spending $3,600 on religious robes and $6,650 on kitchen sink fixtures in his $5,100 a month office and apartment in an upscale neighborhood. The lavish apartment and office wouldn’t be complete without the $87,000 in furniture purchased for it on the Holy See’s dime.
Although the spending by Pell sounds outlandish, it appears the official Vatican spokesperson is backing him up. In a public statement made yesterday, spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the release of the “confidential documents” should be “strongly condemned, and is illegal.” Meanwhile, Pope Francis has been pushing for more transparency when it comes to the finances of the church. Therefore, the message coming from the Vatican is mixed. Is the release of “confidential” Vatican financial documents worth condemnation or is it simply a product of the Pope’s requests?