Blithe Spirit

Pope Francis’s man for this season of cleaning up the financial stables is the target. He’s Cardinal George Pell of Australia, who has stirred up the hornets by a variety of actions:

For one thing, Pell clearly hasn’t been intimidated by lower-intensity pushback. On Monday, his Secretariat for the Economy released a set of procedures for closing the books on 2014, which among other things require every department head in the Vatican, for the first time, to sign a legally binding declaration that their reports are complete and correct.

The procedures also stipulate that external assets of a Vatican department have to be certified by the banks or other financial institutions that hold those assets, a classic expression of “trust but verify.”

For Pell, a day of reckoning approaches:

Pope Francis also returned on Friday from a week-long annual Lenten retreat, and sometime soon he’s expected to issue a new…

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