Vatican financial reform leader to speak at Notre Dame

Author: Carol Elliott

Joseph Zahra Joseph Zahra

In February, Pope Francis gathered with the College of Cardinals and a group of lay people inside Vatican City’s Synod Hall for a historic event: to receive an update on the financial health of the Holy See.

Until very recently, only the pope and a small group of his closest aides were privy to the details of the Vatican Bank’s financial status. But Pope Francis has made financial reform a top priority, not only opening the books for scrutiny but convening a panel including six highest-caliber lay Catholics. Joseph Zahra, a former chairman of Malta’s Bank of Valletta and director of the island nation’s central bank, was selected to serve as chair.

Zahra will be speaking at the University of Notre Dame about the pope’s groundbreaking move during a talk at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 11 (Wednesday) in the Eck Visitors Center Auditorium.

“Inside the Financial and Administrative Changes in the Vatican: What Pope Francis is Doing and Why,” sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business, is free and open to the public. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington and CAPP-USA National Ecclesiastical Counselor, will introduce Zahra.

“This is a rare opportunity to hear from a renowned financial expert personally entrusted by Pope Francis with leading a reform effort essential to the Church’s ongoing leadership,” said Roger Huang, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business. “I urge anyone with interest in learning more about the pope’s vision to attend.”

“In order to serve the people of God with integrity, the Church must be managed in a professional way by committed and highly trained leaders,” said Rev. William Lies, C.S.C., Notre Dame vice president for mission engagement and Church affairs. “Joseph Zahra’s management expertise and financial acumen are serving the Church and the world. I hope his lecture about the ways Pope Francis is reforming Vatican finances will inspire our students to use what they learn at Notre Dame to serve the Church and the world.”

As president of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, Zahra was charged with the investigation of accounting practices among Vatican offices and bodies and to help devise new strategies for greater fiscal responsibility and transparency. Subsequently, he was named vice-coordinator of the Council for the Economy of The Holy See, which was established by Pope Francis and charged with oversight for the administrative and financial structures and activities of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the institutions linked to the Holy See and the Vatican City State.

Zahra’s visit is made possible through the courtesy of CAPP-USA, the United States affiliate of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation.

Contact: Jean Meade, project administrator, Mendoza College of Business, 574-631-3277,