Prominent American professor Mary Ann Glendon has resigned from the Board of Superintendence which oversees the Institute of Religious Works, the so-called Vatican Bank.
“Professor Glendon has expressed a desire to devote more time to other Catholic causes, and the IOR wishes her all of the best for the future, both personally and professionally,” the institute said Feb. 16.
The statement thanked the 79-year-old Glendon for her contributions, especially in the process of defining its legal framework.
The Massachusetts-born Glendon served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under President George W. Bush from 2008-2009. She is a professor at Harvard Law School with an expertise in international human rights, comparative law, and constitutional law.
Under Pope Francis, Glendon was a member of a papal commission set up to ensure transparency at the Vatican Bank and make recommendations for its future from June 2013 to May 2014. She then served as a member of the IOR’s Board of Superintendence beginning July 9, 2014.
The Institute for Religious Works was founded in 1942 under Ven. Pius XII but has origins dating back to 1887. It aims to hold and administer finances designated for “religious works or charity,” its website says. It accepts deposits from legal entities or persons of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State. The main function of the bank is to manage bank accounts for religious orders and Catholic associations.
According to 2016 figures, the bank has about $7 billion in assets from almost 15,000 customers. It has about 100 employees and turned a profit of about $44 million.
The Board of Superintendence governs the bank under a six-member Commission of Cardinals. The commission is supervised by Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló.
Since his election as Bishop of Rome in 2013, Pope Francis has sought to reform the Vatican’s bank and other financial aspects of the Holy See. The process has not been easy. There have been various debates about jurisdiction, oversight, and auditing; establishment of new laws and guidelines; and changes in key personnel and leadership.
St. John Paul II named Glendon to the newly created Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in 1994. She led a 22-member delegation of the Holy See to the Fourth U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995, and served on the Holy See’s Central Committee for the Great Jubilee 2000.
In 2004 she was named head of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, where she served through 2014.
She chairs the Holy See’s Select Committee on Legal Matters in the United States and is a past president of the International Association of Legal Science.