Profits are down, ethics are up for Vatican bank

Profits are down for the Vatican bank.

The Institute for Religious Works (commonly known as the Vatican bank) issued its annual report on Tuesday.

The report says the bank earned 31.9 million euros in profits last year.

This is about 7 million euros down from its 36 million euro-profit in 2016.

The profits are returned to the Holy See.

The report also shows a small decrease in assets. These are presently valued at 5.27 billion euros compared to 5.69 billion last year.

Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, who heads the commission of cardinals overseeing the bank, says Pope Francis has made clear profits must not trump ethics.

The bank’s investment strategy and recent decisions have therefore seen it reject proposed settlements and take legal action against former bank executives in Malta and the Vatican.

A major objective the bank achieved last year involved selecting investments that are consistent with Catholic ethics such as the “respect of human life, creation and human dignity.”

Investments seeking to contribute to the “care of the common home,” as expressed in Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical Laudato Si’, were also favoured.

In addition, corporate social responsibility and the role of companies in creating a sustainable future were the two fundamental features the bank looks for in choosing investments.

This led the bank to invest in projects that promote the development of poorer countries and are in line with the realisation of a sustainable future for future generations.

Individuals holding accounts at the bank must be Vatican employees, retirees or diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

Bishops’ conferences, dioceses, religious orders and other official Catholic works also may have accounts.

The bank served approximately 15,000 clients with $6.25 billion in assets.


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