Jean-Pol Grandmont
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Pope imposes new rules on saint making process after book scandal

Thu 10 Mar 2016
By Antony Bushfield

Pope Francis has imposed new financial accountability regulations on the Vatican's multimillion-dollar saint-making body.

It's after gross abuses were uncovered in two books which claimed hundreds of thousands of euros in donations were taken for each saintly candidate.

The authors claimed candidates who inspire wealthy donors would sprint ahead, those with less wealthy fans would languish for decades.

The rules require external vigilance over individual Vatican bank accounts created for beatification and canonisation causes, as well as regular budgeting and accounting to make sure the donations from the faithful are being used as intended.

The reforms were imposed after Francis tasked a fact-finding commission to investigate Vatican expenditures.

The books had estimated the average cost for each beatification at around 500,000 euro (£383,000), with much of the proceeds going to a few lucky people with contracts to do the often time-consuming investigations into the candidate's lives.

The new rules call for an administrator to be named for each saintly cause who must "scrupulously respect" the intention of each donation.

The administrator must keep a running tab on expenditures and donations, prepare an annual budget and be subject to the oversight of the local bishop or religious superior.

That person must approve the annual budget and send it to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints - the Vatican office responsible for reviewing saintly candidates, investigating miracles and preparing the cases for the Pope's ultimate decision.

They also set out the mechanism by which each cause pays the congregation for its services finalising the beatification or canonisation, though it does not specify how much is given.

Once the candidate is made a saint, the congregation decides what to do with any remaining funds, including sending them to a special solidarity account for less-well funded candidates.

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