Knowing fully well it continues to be hounded by intrigues and controversies regarding its management of Church-related funds, the Vatican bank Institute for Religious Works has opened up a Web site for everyone to see as it aims for transparency in all its dealings.

Vatican Bank IOR Unveils Shroud of Mystery, Opens Web Site for Transparency

The site, which was launched on Wednesday, serves as the bank's efforts to improve its shattered image amidst the scandals as well as criticisms over its lack of transparency.

"The IOR is engaged in a process of comprehensive reform, to foster the most rigorous professional and compliance standards," Ernst von Freyberg, president of the IOR Board of Superintendence and General Director ad interim, said in a statement posted on the Web site. "These efforts are based on the legal framework set forth by the Vatican, in cooperation with international bodies."

Although it can now be readily accessed by everyone, not everyone however can open an account with IOR. Those allowed are only the Vatican employees, clerics, religious congregations and diplomats affiliated with the Holy See.

Vatican Bank IOR Unveils Shroud of Mystery, Opens Web Site for Transparency

Some interesting facts:

  • As of 2012, the IOR last year had 18,900 clients
  • 114 employees
  • A total of US$9.4 billion in assets under management
  • Net profit was at 86.6 million euros

The creation and launch of the Web site meant "to tell our customers, the church, the interested public what we are doing, how our reform efforts are progressing and what the scope of our work is," Mr von Freyberg told Vatican Radio.

Published in English and Italian, the Web site also contained a number of contacts complete with direct phone lines, street addresses and emails.

The IOR through its likewise intends to publish and make known its annual balance sheet, which is expected on October.

"Our task is to run IOR in a way that it can respond to international norms, that it is a clean institute and one of service," Mr von Freyberg said.

Since his installation in March, Pope Francis has consistently said he wants the IOR reformed. He eventually established a commission in June to review the Vatican banks internal workings in bid to create a "greater harmonisation" between its activities and the Roman Catholic church.