Pope Francis has appointed Spanish Jesuit Fr Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, following the expiration of Cardinal George Pell’s term in February. Source: CNA.
Fr Guerrero, 60, will begin his term as prefect in January.
Pope Francis established the Secretariat for Economy in 2014 as part of his financial reform of the Vatican. Its task is to oversee the financial aspects of both the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State administration, including a review of financial reports.
Cardinal Pell first took a leave of absence to face his abuse charges in Australia in 2017 and the position has been empty since February 26, when the cardinal was confirmed to no longer hold the position via a tweet from Alessandro Gisotti, then-interim Holy See press office director.
Cardinal Pell, who is in a Victorian prison awaiting a High Court appeal on his 2018 conviction on five counts of sexual abuse, was the first prefect of the Secretariat for Economy. The cardinal's five-year-term as prefect was to have expired in February. His resignation was not noted in the Vatican’s daily news bulletin, so it is believed his term lapsed and was not renewed, and he was not removed from office.
Fr Guerrero, who has been a Jesuit since 1979, has a degree in economics from the Autonomous University of Madrid, as well as degrees in theology and in philosophy and letters.
“This call was something completely unexpected. Initially, it filled me with anxiety, and I felt quite numb,” Fr Guerrero said in an interview with Vatican News published yesterday.
“But I welcome it with humility, with confidence in the Lord and in the team that is already working in the Secretariat for the Economy. I will collaborate in the service of this mission by offering the best of myself.”
According to Vatican News, Fr Guerrero, who speaks Italian, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, asked Pope Francis to not require his ordination as a bishop, so that after his term as prefect he can return to normal religious life.