Italians are hopeful that the Pope will be successful in cleaning up the scandal-hit Vatican bank, after its two top officials stepped down.
The director, Paolo Cipriani, and deputy director, Massimo Tulli, say they have stepped down in the “best interest of the institute and the Holy See.”
Ernst von Freyberg, the man who became president of the bank earlier this year, will become director until a replacement is found.
The resignations follow the arrest of a senior church official, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, accused of helping try to smuggle 20 million euros into the country.
The Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), has long been tarnished by accusations that it fails to meet international standards against money laundering.
Pope Francis has said that fixing this is a top priority for him. Last week he set up a commission of inquiry, to ensure the bank works in “harmony” with the Church’s mission.
On the streets of Rome there was much support for the Pope’s work.Father Giovanni, a priest in the city, said: “Cleaning up is a good thing, the pope has taken hold of the broom and is cleaning, thank God.”
Another resident said: “This is a special Pope, he is very popular and these things must come out instead of staying hidden.”