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Vatican budget in the black, but donations decline

July 04, 2011

The Holy See’s budget for 2010 showed a surplus of €9.8 ($14.2) million, reversing deficits from the 3 preceding years.

At a meeting of the council of cardinals that supervises budgetary affairs, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the president of the prefecture of economic affairs for the Holy See, presented the budgets that showed expenses of €235.3 million ($341.5 million) and revenues of €245.2 million ($355.8 million). The improving financial figures reflected “the positive tendency that emerged in the financial year 2009,” the cardinal explained. The Vatican budget, which depends on real-estate and other investments for revenue, absorbed a heavy loss in the worldwide slump of 2008.

The budget of the Vatican city-state, which is maintained separately, also showed a surplus in 2010, with revenues of €255.9 million ($371.4 million) exceeding expenses of €234.8 ($340.8 million) by a comfortable margin of €21 million ($30.5 million). These figures, Cardinal De Paolis said, were bolstered by the income of the Vatican Museums, which enjoyed a significant boost in visitors—even at a time when worldwide tourism was in decline.

The budget figures showed one major cause for concern: Donations to Peter’s Pence, the worldwide collection for the needs of the Holy Father, dropped by nearly $15 million over the previous year, to settle at $67.7 million in 2010. The largest contributions came from the US, Italy, and France—with Germany, ordinarily a major factor, notably missing from that list.


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