Something big happened with the Vatican and the Catholic Church in February. The Pope made a revolutionary move by opening up the Vatican’s finances to scrutiny and instituting several changes that could go a far way in bringing more transparency and integrity. These changes include the creation of a Secretariat for the Economy which will report directly to the Pope and having the group made up of not only members of the Church, but also lay members “with strong professional financial experience”.
When an institution such as the Catholic Church takes a step like this, and says that they care about who they do business with and how they conduct their business, this can have a real ripple effect.
This is a big step as it brings the conversation about financial scrutiny, audit, corporate governance, and also corruption, even further into the mainstream. To have an open conversation about this could be a real game changer, not just for the Church, but also in countries where the Church has a great deal of influence and in countries where corruption is a major problem.
Many wonder if this will work. Certainly in the past year Pope Francis has demonstrated a real commitment to change, and this is a big step in that. As always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we’ll be watching carefully over the next several months to see if the new steps that are being taken will actually bear fruit.
I talk about the changes and their wider impact in this “In the Boardroom with Lucy Marcus”