Apropos my post the other day about my growing affection for Pope Francis, I'm chuffed that he's now set up a desperately needed commission to take on reform of the Vatican Bank (a.k.a., the Institute for Religious Works or IOR):
The Holy Father has established a Pontifical Commission to the Institute for the Works of Religion with a Letter of June 24 . As you can see from the text of Chirograph published today, the opportunity to establish a Contact the Commission arose from the desire of the Holy Father to learn more about the juridical position and activities of the Institute to enable better harmonization of said Institute with the mission of the Universal Church and the Apostolic See, in the more general context of reforms that should be carried out by the institutions that aid the Apostolic See.The Commission aims to collect information on the Institute and present the results to the Holy Father. ...
The members of the Commission are: Cardinal Raffaele Farina, President; Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, Member; Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Coordinator; Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells, Secretary; Professor Mary Ann Glendon, Member.
Professor Glendon is an interesting choice. At the outset, let me emphasize that I am a huge admirer of Professor Glendon. She sets the standard to which all of us who seek to integrate our faith with our vocation as legal academics aspire. She obviously knows the ins and outs of the Vatican, having served as a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and has represented the Holy See at various conferences including the 1995 U.N. Women's conference in Beijing where she headed the Vatican delegation.
But business law is not exactly her forte. Her scholarly expertise is in the areas of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and political theory. In those areas her credentials are impeccable, of course. Glendon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Comparative Law, a past president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science, former Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and served two terms as a member of the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2004). She is deservedly one of the most highly decorated and respected legal academics of our time.
But I still can't help wondering whether the Vatican Curia couldn't have found someone with expertise in business law and financial regulation. Perhaps not someone possessing Professor Glendon's sterling credentials (after all, who among us does?). But say a professor of business and financial law, who is also a devout Roman Catholic, and possessing of some not insignificant standing in the field? Perhaps someone who has been named one of the top 100 corporate governance influencers three times?
But where could they have found such a person? Hmmm....