VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has taken his first major step in reforming the troubled Vatican bank by tapping a trusted prelate to oversee its management.
Francis signed off Saturday on naming Monsignor Battista Mario Salvatore Ricca as interim prelate of the Institute for Religious Works.
It's a key job that has been left vacant since 2011: The prelate oversees the bank's activities, attends its board meetings and critically, has access to all its documentation. The prelate reports to the commission of cardinals headed by the Vatican No. 2 who run the bank, giving him a virtually direct line to the pope.
Right before resigning, Benedict XVI tapped German aristocrat and financier Ernst von Freyberg as IOR president. Von Freyberg has said the bank's main problem is its reputation, not any operational shortcomings.