POPE Francis’ finance czar has defended the expenditures of his office following leaked reports it had racked up a half-million euros ($575,000) in bills in the past six months.
Australian Cardinal George Pell’s office has been insisting on a spending review elsewhere in the Vatican.
A spokesman for the Secretariat for the Economy, in a statement, said the expenses were normal for a new operation and below budget.
Italian newsweekly L’Espresso recently detailed opposition within the Vatican to his financial reforms, and cited receipts for expenditures including the salary and housing costs for his Australian aide and clerical tailor’s bill for more than 2,500 euros ($2,800).
The paper said he also spent about $6650 on kitchen-sink fittings, paid an assistant a $21,600-a-month salary and has chosen to fly business class.
While Pope Francis is known to live modestly, Cardinal Pell is reportedly spending $5100-a-month on rent for an office and apartment, including $87,000 on new furniture