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June 27, 2013: Pope Francis has established a Pontifical Commission charged with drawing up an “exhaustive” report into the activities, structure and legal status of the Vatican’s Institute for the Works of Religion, more commonly known as the IOR.
The Commission is composed of 5 people. These include two US natives, Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon and Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells, of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
Presenting the Secretariat of State communique to journalists Wednesday, Holy See press office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. stated that the Commission is tasked with carrying out inquiries and presenting the Holy Father with a report of their findings “in view of possible reform".
Fr. Lombardi noted that the Commission of 5 people is not permanent. It will present the report to the Pope and then be dissolved. He also added that no deadline has been set.
The new Pontifical Commission, which will begin its work in the coming days, is not involved in running the Institution. Its main aim will be to study it to help Pope Francis ensure the IOR’s activities are in harmony with the Churches’ mission.
Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Comuniquè issued by the Secretariat of State:
Chirography of the Holy Father Francis for the institution of a Pontifical Commission of Referral for the Institute of Religious Works.
The Holy Father has established a Pontifical Commission to the Institute for the Works of Religion with a Letter of June 24 . As you can see from the text of Chirograph published today, the opportunity to establish a Contact the Commission arose from the desire of the Holy Father to learn more about the juridical position and activities of the Institute to enable better harmonization of said Institute with the mission of the Universal Church and the Apostolic See, in the more general context of reforms that should be carried out by the institutions that aid the Apostolic See.
The Commission aims to collect information on the Institute and present the results to the Holy Father.
As specified in the Chirograph, during the course of the Commission’s work, the Institute will
continue to operate according to the 1990 Chirograph that established it, except as otherwise provided by the Holy Father. The purposes and powers of the Commission are described in more detail in the aforementioned Chirograph same.
The members of the Commission are:
Cardinal Raffaele Farina, President
Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, Member
Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Coordinator
Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells, Secretary
Professor Mary Ann Glendon, Member
The Commission will begin its work in the coming days. The Holy Father augurs a happy and productive collaboration between the Commission and the Institute.
Following is the Holy Father Francis' complete Chirograph by which he establishes a Pontifical Referring Commission for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).
“With his Chirograph of 1 March 1990, Blessed John Paul II established the Institute for the Works of Religion as a public juridical entity, giving the Institute a new configuration while maintaining its name and purpose. With the same perspective, taking into account that he wished to better adapt the Institute's structures and activities to the needs of the times; following the invitation of Our Predecessor Benedict XVI to allow the Gospel principles to permeate even the activities of an economic and financial nature; having heard the opinion of various Cardinals and other brothers in the Episcopate as well as other collaborators; and in light of the need to introduce reforms in the Institutions that give aid to the Apostolic See; We have decided to establish a Referring Commission for the Institute for the Works of Religion that will gather accurate information on the Institute's legal position and various activities, in order to allow, if necessary, a better harmonization of the same with the universal mission of the Apostolic See. The Commission is to carry out its proper duties in accordance with this Chirograph and Our working arrangements.
1) The Commission shall consist of a minimum of five Members, among which is a President who is its legal representative, a Coordinator who has the ordinary powers of delegation and acts on behalf of the Commission in collecting documents, data, and the necessary information, as well as a Secretary who assists the members and keeps the acts.
2) The Commission is endowed with the powers and faculties appropriate to performing its official institutional duties within the limits established by this Chirograph and the norms of the juridical system. The Commission is to collect the documents, data, and information necessary to the performance of its official institutional duties. Workplace confidentiality and other restrictions established by the juridical system shall not inhibit or limit the Commission's access to documents, data, or information, except as subject to the norms that protect the autonomy and independence of the Authorities that are engaged in the supervision and regulation of the Institute, which shall remain in force.
3) The Commission shall have the human and material resources appropriate to its institutional functions. If needed, it shall make use of contractors and consultants.
4) The governance of the Institute shall continue to operate in accordance with the Chirograph that established it, unless We provide for otherwise.
5) The Commission shall rely upon the willing cooperation of the Bodies of the Institute along with its entire staff. In addition, the Superiors, Members, and Officials of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the other agencies related to it as well as the Vatican City State shall likewise cooperate with the Commission.
6) The Commission shall keep Us informed of its proper activities in the course of its work.
7) The Commission will deliver to Us the results of its work, as well as its entire archive, in a timely manner upon the conclusion of its tasks.
8) The Commission's activities shall take effect from the date of this present Chirograph.
9) The dissolution of the Commission will be announced.
Given at the Vatican on 24 June 2013, in the first year of my Pontificate.