20101230 pope benedict xvi at the vatican 18
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his annual 'Urbi Et Orbis' blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. - 


JEREMY HOBSON: This morning Pope Benedict signed a document to make the Vatican's financial operations more transparent. And to make sure they comply with international regulations. The Vatican's bank is currently under investigation for money laundering

From Rome, here's the BBC's David Willey.

DAVID WILLEY: The Vatican announced it will create a new watchdog to oversee all its financial operations. The move was required by the European Union and by other international organizations involved in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Robert Mickens of the Tablet newspaper, another Vatican watcher, says the Bank previously resisted these global financial rules.

ROBERT MICKENS: The banking operation under the umbrella of the Vatican usually is seen as an independent agency without outside intervention and the moves today reflect pressure from the outside.

That pressure comes because of an criminal investigation against of the Vatican Bank. The Vatican insists that there had been a misunderstanding and there had been no wrongdoing by their bank, or its employees. But despite this move towards more transparency, it will still take some time before the Vatican is put on the so called "White list" of developed countries that have agreed to share tax information and crack down on tax havens.

From Rome, I'm the BBC's David Willey, for Marketplace.