Holy See finances show biggest deficit in decade

The Holy See has suffered its largest budget deficit for 10 years, but growing numbers of visitors to the Vatican Museums gave the Vatican City State a healthy surplus.

The Holy See finances for 2011 recorded a deficit of 14.9 million euros ($NZ22.9 million). Its budget covers the Vatican Secretariat of State and its worldwide diplomatic missions, Vatican congregations and pontifical councils.

The Vatican blamed the poor outcome on high personnel and communications costs and adverse market conditions, particularly for its real estate holdings.

The deficit in the Holy See finances was in spite of a 50 million ($NZ70 million) gift from the Vatican Bank and increased donations from dioceses and religious orders.

The Peter’s Pence Collection — used by the Pope for charitable and emergency works, but not included in the Vatican’s budget — showed an increase, from $US67.7 million ($NZ84.8 million) in 2010 to $US69.7 million ($NZ87.3 million) in 2011.

The biggest contributions to this fund come from the United States, Germany and Italy.

Meanwhile, the autonomous Vatican City State, which employs nearly 1900 people, recorded a surplus of 21.8 million euros ($NZ33.5 million).

The bulk of its income in 2011 came from the Vatican Museums, where increased visitor numbers — more than five million in 2011 — were encouraged by extended opening hours.

Among the expensive items covered by the Holy See finances are the communications operations of Vatican Radio, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican television, which produce little or nothing in revenue.

Father Federico Lombardi, who runs the Vatican radio and television departments and is also the Vatican spokesman, said there are no plans to reduce the Holy See’s 2832 staff, but that savings must come from elsewhere.


Catholic News Service

Associated Press

Image: David Blackwell


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