VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis met on Monday with Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former economy minister who has returned to Rome after the firing of an Italian cardinal whom Pell had accused of obstructing financial reform.

Pell was cleared earlier this year of sexual abuse charges in Australia after spending 13 months in prison, and it remains unclear whether he will take up another role in the Vatican.

The Vatican announced the meeting between Pell and Pope Francis in a statement on the pope’s daily private audiences, but gave no details. “It went very well,” Pell told reporters in front of his residence just outside the Vatican walls.

Pell returned to Rome on Sept. 30, just days after the pope fired Pell’s nemesis, Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was accused of embezzlement and nepotism. Becciu has denied all wrongdoing.

While Becciu was number two in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and Pell was economy minister, the two had a very stormy relationship.

Becciu told reporters the day after he was sacked about a meeting between Pell, the pope and Becciu where Pell told Becciu, “You are dishonest”, and Becciu replied: “How dare you!”

After Becciu was sacked, Pell said: “The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments.”

Pell said he hoped the “cleaning of the stables” would continue.

Becciu’s lawyer has denied Italian media reports that his client sent money to Australia to help Pell’s “enemies” while he was facing the sexual abuse charges.

Through his lawyer, the Australian man who accused Pell of sexually abusing him two decades ago denied Italian reports speculating that he may have been bribed to testify.

Pell’s Australian lawyer, Robert Richter, called for an

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Saturday urged people to pull investments from companies that are not committed to protecting the environment, adding his voice to calls for the economic model that emerges from the coronavirus pandemic to be a sustainable one.

Francis spoke in a video message for an online event called “Countdown Global Launch, A Call to Action on Climate Change”.

“Science tells us, every day with more precision, that we need to act urgently … if we are to have any hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change,” he said.

The pope listed three action points: better education about the environment, sustainable agriculture and access to clean water, and a transition away from fossil fuels.

“One way to encourage this change is to lead companies towards the urgent need to commit to the integral care of our common home, excluding from investments companies that do not meet (these) parameters … and rewarding those that (do),” he said.

He said the pandemic had made the need to address the climate crisis and related social problems even more pressing.

“The current economic system is unsustainable. We are faced with a moral imperative … to rethink many things,” he said, listing means of production, consumerism, waste, indifference to the poor, and harmful energy sources.

In June, a Vatican document urged Catholics to disinvest from the armaments and fossil fuel industries and to monitor companies in sectors such as mining for possible damage to the environment.

Other speakers and activists at the online event included actress Jane Fonda, Britain’s Prince William, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Christina Fincher)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope: Pandemic shows ‘trickle-down’ economic policies don’t work Pope declined to meet with Pompeo Pompeo calls on Vatican to denounce China for human rights abuses MORE met with around a dozen investigators from the Council of Europe’s agency involved with investigating financial crimes on Thursday and pledged that the Vatican would uphold “clean” finances.

The Associated Press reported that the Pope met with a team from Moneyval at the Vatican, where he praised their efforts aimed at “monitoring movements of money and of intervening in cases where irregular or even criminal activities are detected.”

“The measures that you are evaluating are meant to promote a ‘clean finance’, in which the merchants are prevented from speculating in that sacred temple which, in accordance with the Creator’s plan of love, is humanity,” said the Pope, according to the AP.

His meeting with the investigators comes as the Vatican has faced criticism over a decision by Francis’s former top deputy, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, to wire a sum of euros equaling just over $100,000 to a charity controlled by his brother. Becciu also reportedly urged a conference of Italian bishops make a $300,000 donation to the same charity.

Becciu has admitted the actions, but insisted that he did so solely out of support for the charity.

The visit from the Moneyval investigators was not reportedly linked to the scandal specifically; the Vatican, along with other European countries, submits itself to the agency for periodic review of its financial practices.

“Sometimes, in the effort to amass wealth, there is little concern for where it comes from, the more or less legitimate activities that may have produced it, and the mechanisms of exploitation that may be behind it,” the Pope reportedly told the investigators Thursday. “Thus, situations can occur where, in touching money,

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis sought to assure external inspectors of the Vatican’s financial operations on Thursday that he was pushing ahead with reforms, as the Holy See reeled from a scandal in which he fired a powerful cardinal.

In an address to Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s financial monitoring arm, Francis listed recent actions he had taken to make Vatican finances more transparent.

He appeared to refer to the Vatican’s latest financial scandals when he quoted the gospel story of Jesus driving the merchants from the temple and telling them “You cannot serve both God and money”.

Last month, the pope fired Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, accusing him of embezzlement and nepotism. Becciu has denied all wrongdoing.

Moneyval is making one of its periodic inspections to check the Vatican is complying with international norms to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

“The measures that you are evaluating are meant to promote a ‘clean finance’, in which the ‘merchants’ are prevented from speculating in that sacred ‘temple’,” Francis said.

Italian media have this week run interviews with a woman who says she received 500,000 euros from Becciu to run a “parallel diplomacy” to help missionaries in conflict areas.

Cecilia Marogna’s purported work for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, where Becciu held the number two position until 2018, was not previously known.

In an emailed response to Reuters on Wednesday, Becciu’s lawyer, Fabio Viglione, said the cardinal knew Marogna but that his dealings with her had been “exclusively about institutional matters”. He did not mention her comments about the funds, which Marogna said went through a company she started in Slovenia.

Marogna, 39, who like Becciu is from Sardinia, did not reply to a phone message from Reuters.

Addressing the inspectors, Francis pointed to his approval