In what skeptics might say sounds suspiciously like a financial miracle, the Vatican has uncovered huge sums of money "tucked away" in accounts that didn't appear on the main balance sheets. "We have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet," Cardinal George Pell, the new chief of the Vatican's finances, tells the Catholic Herald. The Australian was appointed by Pope Francis earlier this year as part of a campaign to clear up the Vatican's notoriously murky finances.
The cardinal presented the find as a "happy surprise" and didn't make any direct accusations of wrongdoing, the New York Times reports, although he noted that some of the Vatican's many departments had been given "an almost free hand" with their finances and had kept any problems "in house." Pell says that thanks to reforms brought in by Pope Francis, things are "already past the point where it would be possible to return to the 'bad old days,'" and the goal is to make Vatican finances "boringly successful," reports the BBC. (Last year, around 1,000 accountholders at the Vatican's scandal-plagued bank were asked to leave after more than 100 suspicious transactions were detected.)