On April 29, 2021, Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church and Vatican’s Head of State, in adhering to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, issued a decree with provisions to prevent and fight corruption in its different forms. This decree is the second measure taken by the Catholic Church’s leader as an attempt to fight corruption in the Vatican, being issued one year after the first measure.
The decree, which amends the already existing legislation “General Regulations of the Roman Curia”, inserts new legal mechanisms on transparency in the management of public finances of the Vatican and its employees. One of the key measures included with the release of the decree is the prohibition to all Vatican State employees, regardless of their hierarchical level, to accept or request, for themselves or for others, gifts, presents or other benefits of a value greater than 40 euros.
Another measure to fight corruption adopted in the decree is the requirement that employees with high hierarchical positions, as well as those with jurisdictional administrative or control and supervisory functions, declare, every two years, that they have not been convicted of any criminal offence and that they are not subject to investigations in connection with criminal offences, such as tax evasion, money laundering, corruption and fraud.
Furthermore, they have to declare that all their assets are originated from lawful activities, that they do not hold cash or investments in jurisdictions with high risk of money laundering and that their investments are not performed in companies or funds that are contrary to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.
The measure was created in order to reduce corruption at the Holy See, which in the last decade has been involved in international corruption scandals.