The move Thursday is meant to repair credibility after allegations of corruption surfaced at the Vatican Bank -- officially known as the Institute for Religious Works -- which handles funds for the Catholic Church and has assets of over $8 billion. A senior cleric, Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, was arrested on money laundering charges by Italian police.
The five-member, all-Italian board was expected to serve until its term expired in 2016, but was replaced by four people: Juan Zarate, a former national security adviser to former U.S. President George Bush; Joseph Pillay, an adviser to Singapore's president; Maria Blanca Farina, and executive of the Italian postal service, and Marc Odendall, a Swiss financial consultant.
One of the pope's reforms of the Catholic Church is greater financial transparency and an adherence to international banking rules. A 2013 decree condemned money laundering and financing of terrorists. In February, he established a new Secretariat for the Economy, led by Australian Cardinal George Pell, which will report directly to him.