Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as a member of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, or APSA — the Vatican department “responsible for administering the real estate and movable assets owned by the Holy See.”
On Monday, February 2, the Vatican announced that two of Pope Francis’s most trusted cardinals from developing countries have been appointed as members of the APSA. They are Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson and the Philippines’s Cardinal Tagle.
Currently, Cardinal Tagle is serving as president of Caritas Internationalis and prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Ever since his appointment in December 2019, the Cardinal has been overseeing the Church’s missionary works and other activities that help spread the Catholic faith around the globe.
Cardinal Turkson, on the other hand, is the prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Both he and Cardinal Tagle are being seen as potential successors of Pope Francis.
Crack Down on Corruption
According to reports, the appointment of Cardinals Tagle and Turkson comes in light of the Pope’s continued efforts to curb corruption in the Vatican. (Read: 3 Times Lolo Kiko Proved He Was Serious About Fighting Corruption)
On January 1 this year, the Pope transferred to APSA “the ownership of the funds and bank accounts, movable and immovable investments, including shareholdings in companies and investment funds, hitherto held in the name of the Secretariat of State.”
In doing so, the Pope “took away the power of the purse from the Secretariat of State, traditionally the Vatican’s 800-pound gorilla, and transferred it to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the Vatican’s central bank,” explains John Allen Jr, Veteran Vatican analyst.
According to Allen, the APSA has always played a huge role in the Vatican’s financial crisis— as it is in the “middle” of all the issues of corruption in the country. (Read: Pope Francis Appoints Six Women Leaders to Vatican Economic Council)
“Everyone in Italy knows that the dirty money in the north of this country goes to Switzerland, in the south it goes to Sicily, and in the middle, it goes to APSA,” a lay Italian economist had told Allen. “APSA is the real problem.”