Cardinal appointed by Pope Francis to reform Vatican budget accused of massive overspending
By Nick Squires, Rome 28 Feb 2015
A cardinal appointed by Pope Francis to introduce budgetary rigour and transparency to the Vatican’s murky finances spent half a million euros (£360,000) on business-class flights, furniture and other expenses, it emerged on Friday.
Cardinal George Pell, a former archbishop of Sydney, was appointed as the Vatican’s new finance czar last year as the Pope embarked on sweeping reforms of the Holy See’s economy.
But his apparent taste for luxury and good living stands in stark contrast to the frugality and austerity espoused by the Pope, who lives in a modest residence rather than the opulent Apostolic Palace and has eschewed grand motorcades in favour of humble hatch-backs.
Cardinal Pell reportedly spent 501,000 euros between July last year and January this year on business class flights, ceremonial clothing, wallpaper, tapestries and furniture, including 4,600 euros on a designer kitchen unit.
“What, is it made of gold?” the Pope reportedly asked him when told of the kitchen unit. …
There was speculation that they were leaked in order to discredit Cardinal Pell, whose reform efforts have reportedly made him powerful enemies within the Curia, the Vatican’s governing body.
He has long been known to enjoy the trappings of power and privilege – he is one of the few cardinals still to don the “cappa magna”, a long silk scarlet cloak that has to be carried by an assistant.
The leaked documents showed that the former rugby player has come up against fierce opposition within the Vatican hierarchy to the financial reforms he has implemented on behalf of the Pope.
The Vatican angrily condemned the leaking of the documents but did not deny their authenticity.
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