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The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (Italian: Amministrazione del Patrimonio della Sede Apostolica, abbreviated APSA) is the office of the Roman Curia that deals with the "provisions owned by the Holy See in order to provide the funds necessary for the Roman Curia to function". It was established by Pope Paul VI on 15 August 1967. The Ordinary Section, one of APSA's formerly two sections, was transferred to the Secretariat for the Economy by Pope Francis on 8 July 2014. In its reduced form, APSA acts as the Treasury and central bank of Vatican City and the Holy See.
Both before and after the reorganization of its functions in 2014, APSA has been distinct from the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
The assets entrusted to the administration (previously in the care of what was its Extraordinary Section) were initially 750 million Italian lire (at that time equivalent to 8,152,000 pounds sterling) in cash and 1000 million Italian lire (at that time equivalent to 10,869,000 pounds sterling) in Italian State bonds, an amount less than Italy would have paid under the Law of Guarantees of 1871, if the Holy See had accepted this. A 2012 report from the Council of Europe identified the value of a section of the Vatican's property assets as an amount in excess of €680m (£570m); as of January 2013, a papal official in Rome named Paolo Mennini manages this portion of the Holy See's assets—consisting of British investments, other European holdings and a currency trading arm. The Guardian described Mennini as "in effect the pope's merchant banker [who] heads a special unit inside the Vatican called the extraordinary division of APSA – Amministrazione del Patrimonio della Sede Apostolica – which handles the so-called 'patrimony of the Holy See'."
APSA was composed originally of two sections:
- The Ordinary Section continued the work of the Administration of the Property of the Holy See, a commission that Pope Leo XIII set up in 1880, initially as an advisory body, and to which in 1891 he gave direct responsibility for administering the property remaining to the Holy See after the complete loss of the Papal States in 1870.
- The Extraordinary Section administers the funds given by the Italian government to implement the Financial Convention attached to the Lateran Treaty of 1929. Before the establishment of the APSA, these latter funds were managed by the Special Administration of the Holy See. After World War II, the International Monetary Fund recognized the Administration of the Property of the Holy See, as the central bank of Vatican City.
On 9 July 2014, the Ordinary Section of APSA was transferred to the Secretariat for the Economy. Cardinal George Pell, head of that Secretariat, said this was an important step to enable his Secretariat to exercise its responsibilities of economic control and vigilance over the agencies of the Holy See, including policies and procedures concerning purchasing and the allocation of human resources. Pell also announced that the remaining staff of APSA would begin to focus exclusively on APSA's role as a Treasury for the Holy See and the Vatican City State. Only the Extraordinary Section remained within the purview of APSA.
Councilor charged with sex abuse
On 10 June 2019, Gustavo Zanchetta, the Administration's Councilor, was criminally charged with sexually abusing two seminarians when he served as Bishop of Orán. Zanchetta, who was one of Pope Francis’s first appointments in his home country, was first accused of “strange behaviour” in 2015 when pornographic pictures, including naked selfies, were found on his phone. In August 2017, Pope Francis allowed Zanchetta to resign as Bishop of Orán, citing "health reasons," but then appointed him to serve as Assessor, or Councilor, to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. Despite this appointment, Zanchetta remained in Argentina when he was charged. He is barred from leaving the country, must undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and faces between three and ten years in prison if convicted. On January 4, 2019, the Vatican announced that Zanchetta was suspended from his position as Councillor.
On August 28, 2019, it was announced that Zanchetta's travel ban was both lifted and that he returned to Rome, though he still remains suspended as Councilor. On November 7, 2019, following revelations of financial fraud and mismanagement during his time as Bishop of Oran, it was reported that Zanchetta was still suspended by the Vatican. On November 27, 2019, Zanchetta returned voluntarily to Argentina and appeared in court earlier than the scheduled November 28 deadline. A judge once again allowed Zanchetta to return to the Vatican, but also required him to maintain residence at the Santa Marta Hotel.
List of Presidents
- Nicola Canali (1951 - 1961)
- Amleto Giovanni Cicognani (7 May 1968 – 30 April 1969)
- Jean-Marie Villot (30 Apr 1969 – 28 April 1979)
- Giuseppe Caprio (28 Apr 1979 – 30 January 1981)
- Agostino Casaroli (30 Jan 1981 – 8 April 1984)
- Agnelo Rossi (8 Apr 1984 – 6 December 1989)
- Rosalio José Castillo Lara (6 Dec 1989 – 24 June 1995)
- Lorenzo Antonetti (24 Jun 1995 – 5 November 1998)
- Agostino Cacciavillan (5 Nov 1998 – 1 October 2002)
- Attilio Nicora (1 Oct 2002 – 7 July 2011)
- Domenico Calcagno (7 July 2011 - 26 June 2018)
- Nunzio Galantino (26 June 2018 - present)
- Pastor Bonus, 172 as revised by Motu proprio on 8 July 2014
- Motu proprio of 8 July 2014 Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine).
- "New Economic Framework for the Holy See". Vatican Information Service. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- "New Coordination structure for the economic and administrative affairs of the Holy See and Vatican City State". Vatican Information Service. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Pope revolutionizes Vatican by opening finances to scrutiny". Reuters. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "End of Roman Question". The Times. L'Actualité de l'histoire. 12 February 1929.
- Leigh, David (21 January 2013). "How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini's millions". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Annuario Pontificio 2012 (ISBN 978-88-209-8722-0), p. 1847. The same text is given on the website of the Holy See Archived 8 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Pollard, 2005, p. 200.
- "Press Conference for the presentation of the New Economic Framework for the Holy See". Press Office of the Holy See. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- O'Connell, Gerald (11 July 2014). "Exclusive Interview with Cardinal George Pell on Financial Reform at the Vatican". America. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Malachi Martin - Rich Church, Poor Church (Putnam, New York, 1984) ISBN 0-399-12906-5
- Pollard, John F. (2005). Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy: Financing the Vatican, 1850–1950. Cambridge University Press.
- Allen Jr., John L. (27 June 2018). "Pope Francis calls a 'Hail Mary' pass on Vatican financial reform". Crux. Retrieved 28 June 2018.