With the Chirograph of 27 June 1942, my Predecessor of Venerable Memory Pius XII established, in Vatican City, the Institute for the Works of Religion, with juridical personality, incorporating into it the pre-existing "Administration for Works of Religion", whose Statute had been approved by the same Supreme Pontiff on 17 March 1941 and which had its first origin in the "Commission ad pias causas" established by the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII in 1887.
Moreover, by a subsequent Chirograph of 24 January 1944, he established new norms for the regime of the Institute itself, entrusting the Cardinal's Commission for the Vigilance of the Institute to propose any modifications to the Statutes of 17 March 1941 that might appear necessary for the execution of the Chirograph in question.
As is known, on 8 August 2019, in order to continue to adapt better the Institute's structures and activities to the changing needs of the times, having recourse, in particular, to the collaboration and responsibility of competent lay Catholics, I had approved some amendments, ad experimentum for two years, to the Statutes of the Institute for the Works of Religion, with which Saint John Paul II, by Chirograph of 1 March 1990, had given a new configuration to the Institute, preserving its name and purposes.
At the end of this period, I wish to further renew the Statute of the Institute for the Works of Religion to make it consistent with the most modern organizational requirements as well as with the operational needs that arise daily in the Institute's activities. In particular, the reform of the Statute responds to the need to define clearly the areas of respective competence and responsibility of the organs of the Institute that are most involved in its management (strategic and operational) while maintaining the spirit of close and loyal cooperation that must characterize the two organs.
1. The purpose of the Institute is to provide for the stewardship and administration of movable and immovable property transferred to it or entrusted to it by natural or legal persons and destined for religious or charitable works.
2. The Institute has public canonical juridical personality and its headquarters in Vatican City State. In the event of any disputes, the competent court is that of the Vatican City State.
3. The Organs of the Institute are
- The Commission of Cardinals
- The Prelate
- The Board of Superintendence
- The Director General
4. The Commission of Cardinals is composed of five Cardinals appointed ad quinquennium by the Supreme Pontiff and renewable once.
It oversees the fidelity of the Institute to the statutory provisions in the manner laid down in the Statutes.
5. The Prelate, appointed by the Commission of Cardinals, remains in office for five years and may be reappointed once. He follows the activities of the Institute, participates as Secretary in the meetings of the Commission itself and attends the meetings of the Board of Superintendence. He/she also has the function of assisting in situ administrators and employees to govern and operate according to the founding principles of Catholic ethics and in coherence with the mission of the Institute.
6. The Board of Superintendence is responsible for defining and approving the strategic guidelines and policies of the Institute as well as overseeing compliance with them. It is composed of seven members of acknowledged economic and financial experience and proven reliability, who meet the requirements expressly provided for by the regulations. The members, appointed by the Cardinal Commission, hold office for five years, renewable once.
7. The legal representation of the Institute is assigned to with the President of the Board of Superintendence.
8. The Director General is appointed by the Board of Superintendence, by its own decision, from a shortlist of at least three suitable candidates. The appointment of the Director General is approved by the Commission of Cardinals.
The Director General, who may be employed for an indefinite or fixed term, is responsible for the direction and control, all activities concerning the administration, management and organization of the Institute, as well as the recruitment and management of personnel.
The Director General may assign to one of the Managers the function of Deputy Director to replace him/her in the ordinary administration and management of the Institute in the event of absence, impediment or by delegation.
9. The accounts shall be audited by an external auditor, appointed by the Commission of Cardinals on the proposal of the Board of Superintendence, for a period of three consecutive financial years, renewable once.
I further decree that this Chirograph be published in the daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano together with the new Statutes of the Institute for the Works of Religion, which, having been approved by me, will enter into immediate force as of the said publication, and that thereafter both be simultaneously inserted in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the 30th day of January in the year 2023, the tenth of my Pontificate.