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The temporal goods of the Church are intended to fulfil her aims, and these are divine worship, the just compensation of the clergy, the carrying out of apostolic works and works of charity, especially at the service of the poor (cf. can. 1254 § 2 CIC). Consequently, the Church is keenly aware of her responsibility to ensure that the administration of her economic resources is always directed to those ends.

For this reason the Holy See pays special attention to the oversight of her patrimony. Thus, on 24 February 2014, with the publication of the Motu Proprio Fidelis Dispensator et Prudens, I established three new offices, namely the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, and the Office of the Auditor General, specifying the competencies of each. Subsequently, on 22 February 2015, I approved ad experimentum the respective Statutes of the above mentioned entities.

Since that time, the practical experience of implementing the said Statutes has shown the necessity of further intervention in order to clarify how they are to be correctly interpreted and concretely applied in light of the fundamental competencies previously established in the Letter Fidelis Dispensator et Prudens. In particular, there is a manifest need to better delineate the respective spheres of activity of the Secretariat for the Economy and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, their respective procedures, and their mutual coordination.

Thus, with the present Letter, by further detailing and amending as needed what has been previously decreed, I intend to emphasize the fundamental directive that it is necessary to separate in a clear and unequivocal way the direct management of the Holy See’s patrimony from the control and vigilance over the activity of management. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that the entities responsible for oversight be separate from those being overseen. Hence the primary rule is the summa divisio of the respective competencies of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Secretariat for the Economy, in the sense that the former is responsible for the administration of assets and management of finances; and the latter for control and vigilance over the activities of administration and management.

Therefore, having carefully examined the matter in question and after due consultation, I hereby decree as follows:

1. In the Secretariat for the Economy, the Section for control and vigilance is responsible for monitoring and overseeing the activity of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. This includes:

a) issuing general executive decrees and instructions in conformity with art. 6 § 1 of the Statutes of the Secretariat for the Economy, after appropriate