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Catholic World News

Peter’s Pence funds used to ease Vatican budget deficit

December 11, 2019

Funds contributed to the Peter’s Pence collection have been used to the ease Vatican’s budget deficit, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Peter’s Pence collection is taken up worldwide each year to support the work of the Holy Father. Although the appeal traditionally emphasizes the Pontiff’s charitable works, the Journal finds that as little as 10% of the funds collected go to charitable projects.

In a detailed investigation of the collection’s results, the Journal concludes that “about two-thirds of the money has been used to help cover the budget deficit of the Holy See.” Last year that deficit was €70 million, or more than 20% of the total Vatican budget.

Much of the money collected each year is invested, and the accumulated wealth of the Peter’s Pence fund soared to around €700 million ($780 million) under Pope Benedict XVI. But that figure has now dropped to €600 million, the Journal reports.

Although Vatican officials attribute the decline in the assets to weak returns on investments, the annual collections have also sagged markedly. In 2017 the appeal brought in €60 million; last year it produced €50 million: a plunge of 17%.

The use of the Peter’s Pence collection has been a focal point of criticism in recent weeks, with the revelation that funds from the appeal were used to prop up a failing Italian hospital, against the advice of both the Vatican bank and the Secretariat for the Economy.


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  • Posted by: kfalaney3370 - Dec. 15, 2019 12:58 PM ET USA

    I have stopped contributing to Peter's Pence because I was never sure how the donations were used. This justifies my suspicions.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Dec. 12, 2019 5:38 AM ET USA

    I used to look forward to the Peter's Pence offering every year, but for the last few years I've been directing my charitable giving elsewhere. I hope some in the Vatican are thinking about why Peter's Pence giving is down.