Vatican deficit: Spending up on struggling communities

Vatican budget deficit

The Vatican has reported a Roman Curia budget deficit of €66.3 million (US$78 million) for the COVID-dominated year 2020.

While most Vatican offices reduced costs, the Congregations for Eastern Churches and for Evangelization of Peoples significantly increased giving to struggling church communities.

The Vatican said the coronavirus pandemic had a severe negative impact on the Vatican’s financial situation, including the deficit in the consolidated budget report for 2020.

Releasing the Vatican consolidate budget report for 2020, Fr Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, prefect of Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, said, “We come from a culture of secrecy, but we have learned that in economic matters transparency protects us more than secrecy.”

The coronavirus pandemic “has given us the possibility of being able to provide additional help at a difficult moment for all humanity, thus making the church present in areas with fewer resources to deal with the pandemic,” Father Guerrero said.

On the same day, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA), which administers Vatican properties and investments, made a summary of its annual budget public for the first time.

APSA reported 14% of Vatican properties they administer are rented at market rates and fund Vatican work and charity.

The remaining 86% is used by Vatican offices or provides housing for cardinals, Vatican employees and retirees. Most of the latter are rented at below-market rates.

In an interview with Vatican News, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of APSA, said making the budget synthesis public was “a step forward in the direction of transparency and sharing.”

“The release of the balance sheet is a sign of great respect for all those who, with trust and generosity, have placed and continue to place part of their resources in the hands of the Catholic Church,” Bishop Galantino said.

“I harbor a secret hope: I hope that the publication and reading of the numbers and the important notes that accompany them will foster more correct and complete information,” he added.

Fr Guerrero does not appear discouraged with the budget deficit. “The budgeted expenses for 2021 are the lowest in the recent history of the Holy See. But the savings have been made without diminishing service to the Pope’s mission and protecting the salaries and jobs of employees. The support of the faithful is needed.”

“The economic situation was worse, but the mission expanded. This is further proof that the criteria driving the church are not economic,” Guerrero concluded.


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