Pope cancels salaries of cardinals overseeing bank

Vatican City, April 20 (IANS) In a further sign of his desire for a “poor church”, Pope Francis has cancelled the annual stipend of 25,000 euros (around $33,000) paid to each of five cardinals who oversee the Vatican Bank. The Vatican Bank has come under fire in recent years for alleged money laundering, Italy’s AKI news agency reported.

Last year, European regulators said the bank was not doing enough to combat money laundering.

The Holy See also hired a Swiss anti-money-laundering lawyer in its bid to enter a “white list” of states that are said to respect international standards on fighting money laundering and terrorism financing.

A major money-laundering scandal in 2011 led to the ouster of former Vatican Bank president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi by the bank’s five-cardinal board in May last year.

The 76-year-old Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, said earlier he wanted “a poor church for the poor”.

After being elected leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, the pope explained how he decided to name himself, after St. Francis of Assisi.

When he was elected, a fellow cardinal embraced him and said, “Don’t forget the poor.”

“That’s when I thought of Francis of Assisi. And that is how the name came to me: Francis of Assisi, the man of poverty, of peace. This is what I want, a poor church for the poor,” the pope said.

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