Vatican: A New Motu Proprio for Cleaner Finances

June 16, 2020

The Vatican has adopted a unique code for the management of agreements and public contracts. The text, published on June 1, 2020, is entitled “On transparency, control and competition in the procedures for awarding public contracts of the Holy See and Vatican City State.”  It intends to mark a step in the fight against corruption in the smallest state in the world.

The fruit of four years of work, the motu proprio promulgated on June 1, 2020 by the Sovereign Pontiff aligns the Holy See with international standards in public finance.

“The new public procurement code,” said Giuseppe Pignatone, current president of the Vatican City State Court, incorporates “the best rules and best practices developed by the international community.”

For the former champion of the anti-mafia fight recruited by the Vatican, the new rules will result in “a more efficient management of resources.” As such, they constitute “a renewed and determined commitment against the risk of corruption.”

Concretely, centralized purchasing planning will be implemented. For the first time, it will coordinate the needs of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), and those of the Governorate of the Vatican City State.

A transparent procedure for the awarding of contracts, with competition among candidates, will also be carried out for public contracts above 40,000 euros. Companies that have been convicted of any financial crime will be automatically excluded from requests for proposals.

“In the new legislation, we also find the idea of ​​the social doctrine of the Church to link action to the real demands of a community,” rejoices Vincenzo Buonomo, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, one of the craftsmen of the composition of the motu proprio.

The effects of this new financial code, which aims to be more virtuous and democratically transparent, remain to be assessed in the future. The consolidation of Vatican finances aims to eradicate all forms of corruption in the heart of the Leonine city.