Vatican City: Pope Francis today publicly backed his new economy czar, who is overhauling the Vatican`s administration amid grumblings from some Holy See bureaucrats about a perceived abrasive and secretive style.
Francis acknowledged Cardinal George Pell`s "tenacity" in calling the imposing Australian the Vatican`s resident "rugby player." Francis echoed Pell`s call for a new way of doing business at the Vatican in urging Holy See employees to embrace a "new mentality of evangelical service."
"The path will not be easy and requires courage and determination," he told members of Pell`s economy council, made up of cardinals and lay experts.
Pell has only been in office for a month but he has already ruffled feathers inside the Italian bureaucracy that has run the Vatican for centuries.
A week after arriving in Rome, Pell pushed through a press statement saying Francis had signed off on a new proposal he presented for the troubled Vatican bank that was approved by two study groups when no such agreement had been reached. The bank`s cardinal overseers later issued their own statement asserting their role in running the bank.
Francis was elected pope on a mandate to reform the antiquated Vatican bureaucracy, or Curia, and make it more responsive to the needs of the 21st-century Catholic Church. He created Pell`s new Secretariat of the Economy in February in the biggest Vatican reform in a quarter-century.
The announcement, issued days after Pell and other members of Francis` "Group of Eight" cardinal advisers met, took many Vatican officials by surprise.