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Monday, January 16, 2012


VATICAN CITY, 14 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning a celebration was held to inaugurate the eighty-third judicial year of the Tribunal of Vatican City State. The event was attended by a number of religious and civil authorities, including representatives of the Italian government and legal system led by Paola Severino, minister of justice.

  The day began with Mass in the chapel of the Governorate, celebrated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. In his homily he highlighted how, "with the beginning of a new judicial year ... we are again invited to reflect upon the relationship between divine and human justice, so that our consciences may be illuminated and our actions may, as far as possible, correspond to the divine will and its plan of love for each individual and for the community of man". He also mentioned the specific vocation of the Church, which is called to be a sign and instrument of God's love, and of His justice which is always an expression of His merciful love".

  Nicola Picardi, promoter of justice of the tribunal, then presented his inaugural report in which he gave a brief overview of Vatican judicial history before turning to the most innovative aspects of recent norms. These, he said, have been inspired by the development of international relations and the need to adopt an institutional model capable of bearing comparison with other nations, and of contrasting the spread of criminality.

  A broad-ranging reform of the Vatican penal code, together with certain innovations in the field of administration and finance, were made necessary by the 2009 Monetary Convention between Vatican City State and the European Union. In 2010, measures were adopted to harmonise legalisation with European standards in the field of combating money laundering, fraud and the falsification of means of payment.

  New norms were introduced into the Vatican penal code on 1 March 2011 (regarding fraud and the counterfeiting of euros) and on 1 April 2011 (concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds resulting from criminal activities and financing of terrorism). These latter norms also impose new obligations on Vatican entities which undertake economic, financial and monetary activities. They must carefully vet their customers and have the duty to report any suspect operations to the Financial Information Authority, which has been set up on the Vatican to contrast illegal economic activities and collaborates with similar authorities in other States.

  Another important aspect of recent reforms concerns the "Motu proprio" of 30 December 2010 for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the area of monetary and financial dealings. Therein Benedict XVI sought to enact his teachings on economic ethics contained in "Caritas in veritate". According to the "Motu proprio" all dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and other institutions and entities dependent upon the Holy See including the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), which carry out monetary and financial dealings, are subject to the norms on money laundering and financing of terrorism.

  Finally, the promoter of justice also noted that the jurisdiction of the tribunal now extends beyond the limits of the State and covers ecclesiastical persons and entities which, in principle, are beyond the reach of Vatican law.
LOR:RV/                                VIS 20120116 (540)

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