Vatican bank reports profit increase while upholding Catholic ethics

The Vatican bank’s commitment to upholding Catholic ethics helped it achieve a profit of €29.6 million in 2022, according to its recently published budget.

Officially known as the Institute for Religious Works or IOR, the bank, once a symbol of financial misconduct, has successfully rebranded itself as a pillar of transparency at the Vatican.

Pope Francis and his predecessor, the late Pope Benedict XVI, implemented significant changes to enhance transparency and efficiency in the Catholic institution’s financial dealings.

Pope Francis consolidated all financial assets of the Holy See within the Institute for Religious Works in August 2022, promoting centralisation.

The report emphasised that the Institute for Religious Works is deeply committed to managing assets in line with the principles of the Catholic faith.

It declared, “The high standards achieved by the IOR in asset management amply confirm the choice made.”

Furthermore, the statement added that the bank’s core capital and liquidity contribute to its status as “one of the strongest financial institutions in the world.”

Conviction of former Vatican bank president

Over the past few decades, the Vatican has made concerted efforts to restore the credibility of its financial institution, which aims primarily to securely distribute the church’s wealth for its numerous global missions.

However, it has faced challenges, including the conviction of the former president of the Vatican bank, Angelo Caloia, for money laundering related to an obscure real estate investment.

In 2019, new leadership at the Vatican bank flagged a suspicious loan request of 150 million euros for a real estate investment in London’s Chelsea district.

This transaction now forms the core of a Vatican trial involving ten individuals, including Vatican officials, who face money laundering and corruption charges.

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Vatican media, Monsignor Battista Ricca, a prelate at the Vatican bank, acknowledged that the institute is an integral part of a larger entity—the Holy See.

“This realisation has greatly reduced the idea of acting independently and of being able to operate free from any rule. Also, the spectre of the genuine disasters committed in the past is always there to keep us on the alert,” Msgr Ricca added.


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