Pope Francis has called for better accountability into what happens to the money involved in making someone a saint.
On average, it costs about $US550,000 to investigate whether a candidate is suitable for beatification.
The costs were revealed in a couple of separate books released in November which purported to lift the lid on financial mismanagement within the Church.
“Merchants in the Temple”, by Gianluigi Nuzzi, and “Avarice”, by Emiliano Fittipaldi, were compiled on the back of secret recordings made during a hearing attended by the Pope and a handful of senior cardinals and officials in 2013.
The Vatican describes the books as a “grave betrayal”, and at the centre of it all, the man charged with cleaning up the Vatican’s finances and pushing through reform from the hearing is none other than Australia’s Cardinal George Pell.
Back in November, the Vatican said the books did nothing other than “generate confusion and partial and tendentious conclusions”.
But this week, it has taken action against the most controversial allegations in the book, which deal with the extravagant expense accorded to beatification and canonisation.
Beatification is the official recognition that someone has passed into Heaven and can help out people who pray in their name.
Canonisation is the process of actually declaring such a person a saint. In a few days, the Pope is expected to confirm Mother Teresa will be made a saint in the first week of September.
One of the key admissions, according to the books, was that the Church recognised candidates with wealthy donors “would pass through the process seamlessly”.
If you’re up for a sainthood but your supporters aren’t cashed up, the process would be somewhat lengthier.
The books authors claimed that the Church has virtually no idea how money donated to candidates’ claims was spent. Now, the Pope has laid down the law, asking for bank accounts to be created so that money can be tracked.
An administrator will be appointed under the gaze of a local bishop or more senior figure, and they will be expected to keep a running tab of expenses and “scrupulously respect” the intent of each donation.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the office in charge of investigating miracles, will keep watch over each candidate’s budget.
Once a decision is made on a sainthood, any remaining funds from the process of getting them there will be handed over to the congregation, which may funnel them to an account for the poorer candidates.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.