Recession Also Strikes Vatican Finances

Show $1.3M Loss in ’08

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 6, 2009 ( The Vatican is not immune to the global economic crisis; Holy See accounts show a loss of $1,275,121 (€911,514) in 2008.

The state of the Vatican’s economic affairs was reported in a Saturday communiqué from the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Questions of the Apostolic See. The council had their 63rd meeting last Wednesday through Friday.

In 2008, the Holy See received $355,281,462 (€253,953,869) and spent $356,556,670 (€254,865,383), for a loss of $1,275,208 (€911,514).

Spendings are due above all to the ordinary and extraordinary expenses of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See, which employ 2,732 people, of whom 761 are ecclesiastics, 334 religious and 1,637 lay.

The Governorate of Vatican City State, which runs on a separate budget, also finished in the red, with a deficit of more than €15 million.

The governorate employs nearly 2,000 people. It also had some significant spendings in 2008, including a study of an integrated communications infrastructure with telephone and internet services, the installation of photoelectric panels on the roof of Paul VI Hall, and projects of protecting, evaluating and restoring the artistic heritage of the Holy See (restoration of the Pauline Chapel and work on the papal basilicas of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major).

The panels on Paul VI Hall, however, are an economic investment: The 2,400 solar panels replace the deteriorating concrete roof panels, and the photovoltaic cells will convert sunlight into electricity, and generate enough power to light, heat or cool the 6,000-seat hall.

A third account was also considered: the annual Peter’s Pence collection. This fund consists of donations from local Churches for the charitable activities of the Holy Father.

In 2008 a total of $76,088,411 (€54,387,714) was donated and, although the number of donations went up, the total sum fell slightly «due to the general economic situation,» the group reported.

The Pontiff visited the cardinals during the meetings, listened to the presentations of the three accounts, and offered some pastoral suggestions. He also thanked them for their work.

For the first time since 2003, the Holy See also finished in the red in 2007, marking a deficit of more that $14 million (€9 million, with the currency rate of the dollar then). However, Vatican City State closed 2007 with a net gain of about $10.5 million (€6.7 million).

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