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Homeeurope newsPope sacks 4 cardinals in Vatican Bank in cleanup

Pope sacks 4 cardinals in Vatican Bank in cleanup

Pope Francis has sacked nearly all the cardinals from the commission charged with overseeing the scandal-hit Vatican Bank, just 11 months into their five-year term.

Pope Francis on his way to attend the Via Crucis during World Youth Day celebrations in July in Rio de Janeiro.Buda Mendes | Getty Images

Former Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was among four cardinals axed at the five-person committee, inherited from Benedict XVI, who last February became the first pope in almost 600 years to abdicate amid controversy in the church.

The move is widely seen as an attempt to clean up the shamed bank, which is still under investigation by Italian authorities for money laundering.

"This is an important turn in the political economy of the Vatican. It is following the new political line of Pope Francis towards transparent for Vatican finance," Professor Giuseppe Di Taranto, economist at LUISS University in Rome, told CNBC in a phone interview.

(Read more: Power struggle on reforming Vatican Bank)

Toronto Cardinal Christopher Collins and Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn are among the new appointees to the commission and have had extensive experience in financial affairs.

The Vatican's new secretary of state, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who is set to become a cardinal next month, and Spanish Archpriest Santos Abril y Castillo are the final two recruits.

Only French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran kept his job.

The reshuffle comes just 11 months into the creation of the overseeing committee, formed last February under Pope Benedict.

(Read more: Pope's sharp words make a wealthy donor hesitate)

One of the sacked cardinals, Bertone, was blamed for lax oversight that led to a series of embarrassments for the Vatican, including the leaking of the former pope's personal information by his butler.

Closing the bank

Francis has not ruled out shutting down the bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), if it cannot be reformed.


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