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Vatican releases financial balance sheet

October 01, 2020

The Prefecture for Economic Affairs has released a full balance sheet for the Vatican, showing a deficit of €11 million ($12.9 million) on a total 2019 budget of €318 million ($373 million).

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The deficit for 2019 is considerably less than the previous year’s deficit of €75 million. Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, said that the difference was attributable to the recovery of stock prices in the Vatican portfolio.

However, the Vatican expects a significant drop in revenues for this year, reflecting the damage caused by the Covid lockdown. The drop in income could be anywhere from 39% to 80%, the Prefecture for Economic Affairs has warned, presaging another substantial deficit for the current year.

“Our mission will always tend to produce deficits,” remarked Father Guerrero in an interview with Vatican News. He explained: “It is a service that we do not do for profit. We must find a way to support the mission in the long term.”

Father Guerrero acknowledged that fundraising for the Vatican has been damaged by reports of financial mismanagement. “It is possible,” he conceded, “that in some cases, the Holy See has been not only badly advised but also cheated.” He stressed that contributors have a right to know how their donations are being used. “Those who ask for transparency are right,” he said.

The balance sheet released on October 1 provides the first detailed disclosure of Vatican finances since 2016. In a bid to honor the promises of Pope Francis that the Vatican would be more transparent in its financial dealing, the statement provides the first-ever account of the Vatican’s assets, which are listed at €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion). (That figure, however, does not include the enormous resources of the Vatican Museums, the government of the Vatican city-state, the Vatican bank, and the funds amassed each year in the Peter’s Pence collection.)

The Peter’s Pence collection, Father Guerrero disclosed, funded roughly one-third of the costs “for the mission of the Holy See” in the past year. Peter’s Pence provided €66 million—a sum that included reserves from previous years along with this year’s donations. Overall donations have slipped in recent years, he confirmed.

The balance sheet also provided the most extensive breakdown the Vatican has ever offered of the expenses of different offices of the Roman Curia. APSA—the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the office that manages the Vatican’s assets—showed the largest expenditures: €66 million. The Secretariat of State was close behind, spending €65 million. The dicastery for Communications spent €46 million. By contrast, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had only $3.3 million in expenses in the last year.


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  • Posted by: charles.pullin6847 - Oct. 02, 2020 12:23 PM ET USA

    I disagree with Cory. These numbers are actually quite small for the size of the organization and its global reach. I am frustrated at two other things. One, this article and the articles at other sites from which it is derived, do not link to the actual financial statements. I would like to see them. Two, the terminology is incorrect. A balance sheet does not present financial results such as a deficit. I don't expect reporters to know accounting, of course.

  • Posted by: Cory - Oct. 01, 2020 11:57 AM ET USA

    The numbers are rather dizzying considering that this is supposed to be a poor church for the poor. Aaah the lies.