VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has publicly backed his new economy czar, who is overhauling the Vatican bureaucracy amid grumblings from Holy See bureaucrats about his abrasive style.
Francis acknowledged Cardinal George Pell's "tenacity" Friday, calling the imposing Australian the Vatican's resident rugby player. Francis backed Pell in urging Vatican workers to embrace a "new mentality of evangelical service."
Pell has only been in office for a month but he has already ruffled feathers inside the Italian bureaucracy. A week after arriving, he issued a statement saying Francis had signed off on a new proposal for the troubled Vatican bank that was approved by two study groups when no such agreement had been reached. The bank's cardinal advisers later issued their own statement asserting their independent oversight role.