Vatican Tightens Financial Rules for Becoming a Saint, Investigating Leaked Information

The Church has announced a crackdown on the multi-million-dollar canonization system after books allege a series of financial abuses. Pope Francis has overhauled the Vatican’s system after two exposés revealed that the cost of beatification – a major step towards becoming a saint – has reached about €500,000 ($550,000).

Recently announced new regulations are aimed at placing more checks and budgeting rules into a process that has long been cloaked in mystery. They include the assignment of administrators, who will have oversight of each case and the creation of a fund that will help the financial cases of lesser-known candidates for sainthood.

The Vatican said it was particularly focused on the “Roman phase” of the process, which follows the initial evidence collection and the preparation of a paper that can be “thousands of pages long and contain painstakingly assembled intimate details of the proposed saint’s earthly life and career.” This process, the Vatican said, had proved to be “extremely costly and time-consuming.”

Two books published late last year – Avarice by Emanuele Fittipaldi and Merchants in the Temple by Gianluigi Nuzzi – revealed that the commission’s audit of the millions of dollars spent by the sainthood body had come up short, after officials said they had no documentation to support their activities. Fittipaldi and Nuzzi will also face a Vatican trial for publishing confidential information that was allegedly leaked to them.

It was announced this week that the Pope has set September 4th of this year as the canonization date of Mother Theresa. This coincides with the 19th anniversary of her death (September 5, 1997).

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