As reported in secular and religious media, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) –known popularly, even if inaccurately– has been a bête noire for recent popes. The IOR is a colossal distraction for Catholics and for the seculars due to the mismanagement and problematic behavior of certain clergymen. If Pope Francis doesn’t get this problem under control and fixed, his work will be weakened.
Today, it was announced that Pope Francis, following on the systemic changes made made by Pope Benedict, is very serious in his intentions to reform the IOR. The Pope established a commission and published directives.
The members of the Commission are:
Cardinal Raffaele Farina, SDB, president
Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, coordinator
Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, secretary
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, member
Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, member
Two of the members of the commission are Americans. All members answer solely to Francis.
Here is the Chirograph by which 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.