Pope Francis changes rules on procurement and extraordinary expenses of Dicasteries

19 January 2024

Measures to better define the expenditure management of the Vatican Dicasteries, and to improve transparency in procurement. Pope Francis has intervened on these subjects with two documents released Tuesday, 16 January.

The first is an Apostolic Letter issued in the form of a motu proprio, with which the Pope specifies “the limits and modalities” of the ordinary administration of the Holy See’s Dicasteries.

In three articles, in line with Praedicate Evangelium’s reform of the Roman Curia, the Pope establishes that a Vatican entity is required to request the approval of the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy when an act of expenditure exceeds two percent of the total costs of the entity itself, with the figure deduced from the average of the final balance sheets of the last three years. “In any case”, we read, “for acts whose value is less than EUR 150,000, approval is not required”.

Another section of the document sets a 30-day limit for receiving approval, beyond which a lack of response is equivalent to granting the request. In any case, this procedure “must be concluded within and no later than forty days”.

With the second letter, which also takes the form of a motu proprio, the Pope intervenes to further clarify the regulations governing the Vatican procurement code promulgated in 2020.

Here too, in line with Praedicate Evangelium, Francis emphasises that the motu proprio intends to continue the “discourse undertaken to favour transparency, control and competition in the procedures for the awarding of public contracts”, for a “more effective application” of norms, which, with the latest modifications, take into account the “observations of the Institutions linked to the Holy See”, the Governorate and the experience “accrued in recent years”.

The first article in paragraph 2 in particular offers clarification, redefining the regulations’ aims in four new points, in conformity, it says, “with the principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church, the canonical order of the Holy See and the Vatican City State and the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’”. The four points concern “the sustainable use of internal funds”, “the transparency of the award procedure”, “equal treatment and non-discrimination of bidders” and “the promotion of effective competition among bidders, in particular through measures to counter unlawful competition agreements and corruption”.