Vatican Deficit Linked to Effects of Sept. 11

Financial Statement for 2001 Presented

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 5, 2002 ( The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had an impact on the Vatican’s finances, resulting in its first operating deficit in eight years.

Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, the president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, said that the deficit for 2001 was $3.06 million (at the rate of exchange at the close of 2001 of 3.474 million euro).

At a conference today in the Vatican Press Office, he said the total expenses for administration and for the 2,671 employees of the Roman Curia amounted last year to $176.58 million (200.37 million euro), and a total income of $173.52 million (196.89 million euro).

Cardinal Sebastiani explained that the negative result was caused by three decisive factors.

The first was “the sharp fall in income from the financial sector — within which the revenues from securities and, above all, from fluctuations in the rate of exchange — decrease,” he said in a statement. He added that this “is attributed to the unfavorable course of the world economy during the year, heavily aggravated by the Sept. 11 attacks.”

Second was “the increased expenses of institutional activity — higher costs of real estate maintenance, higher costs of apostolic nunciatures.” Last year, this factor resulted in a $20 million increase in expenses.

Third was “the increase in expenses of the media companies,” the cardinal added. In this area, the deficit caused by the Vatican media amounted to just over $19 million.

“In contrast to the preceding year, which registered some improvement traceable to the Jubilee Year, these organs present signs of general sluggishness,” Cardinal Sebastiani explained.

The Holy See’s means of communication include Vatican Radio, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Press (combined with regard to administration), the Vatican Television Center, and the Vatican Publishing House.

This is strictly the Holy See’s balance, which is totally independent of that of Vatican City (ordinary life in this small city, with its museums, pharmacy, supermarket, employees, etc.).

Vatican City’s financial statement at the end of 2001 showed earnings amounting to $12.4 million, $4.5 million less than the previous year, due especially to the cost of restoration work on the basilicas of Rome and monuments of Vatican City.

The Roman Curia only offers services and has no income; the income from the Vatican Museums is part of the financial statement of Vatican City. The income stems primarily from the Holy See’s patrimony — real estate and financial — as well as donations from the faithful.

Last year the donations to the Holy See from dioceses worldwide increased by 5%, to $20.66 million. Donations from religious congregations, foundations, associations and private individuals totaled $37.37 million.

The Holy See’s financial statement was presented to the Pope and the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, after being reviewed by the Council of International Auditors.

The financial statement will now be translated in various languages and sent to the bishops and superiors general of religious institutes worldwide.

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