The Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See was instituted by Pope Paul VI with the Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae of August 15, 1967 (Chap. VII, art. 117-121). According to Pope John Paul II’s regulation of March 6, 2000, the members of the College of Cardinals of the Prefecture were increased to eight. The Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of June 28, 1988, written by Pope John Paul II, established institutional functions, composition and assignment of this Office. At present, the Prefecture is an Office of the Roman Curia in charge of the supervision and control of the Administrations of the Holy See or those that make reference to it, whatever the autonomy they enjoy (art. 176). The Prefecture is presided over by a Board of Cardinals, including the Cardinal President, assisted by the Prelate Secretary and the Accountant General (art. 177) and performs its functions with the following powers:
1. examines the reports on the patrimonial and economic status as well as the financial statements and budgets of the Administrations mentioned in art.176, checking their accounting records and the relevant documentation, if need be.
2. draws up the budgets and the consolidated financial statements of the Holy See and submits them to the Superior Authority for approval within a fixed date (art. 178);
3. supervises the economic initiatives of the administrations and gives advice about the most important projects.
4. investigates about possible damage caused in whatever manner to the patrimony of the Holy See in order to bring penal or civil actions before the competent courts (art. 179).
The activity of the Prefecture is regulated by special Rules which provide for a staff of employees experienced in legal and economic matters as well as for a Board of Consultants and Auditors. These Rules provide also for a detailed procedure aimed at regulating the execution of the special powers of the Prefecture.