* * *
On Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 of the current month of July, the meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See took place in Vatican City, presided over by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone s.b.d.. Particularly noteworthy was the visit on Wednesday 3 by the Holy Father Francesco, who addressed the speakers and engaged in a brief dialogue, reiterating the aims and purpose of the Council and inviting the continuation of periodical meetings.
The council is comprised of Cardinals from around the world, including Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Köln (Germany), Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid (Spain), Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, Archbishop of Dar-el-Salaam (Tanzania), Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of México (México), Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban (South Africa), Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan (Italy), Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi (India), Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia), Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal John Tong Hon, Archbishop of Hong Kong (China), Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas (Venezuela), and Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo (Brazil).
The Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See was represented by the president, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the secretary, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, and the Accountant General, Stefano Fralleoni. Antonio Chiminello, director of the State Accounting Administration, spoke on behalf of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
The Governorate of Vatican City State and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) were represented by: Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Msgr. Giuseppe Sciacca, president of the Commission of Cardinals for Vatican City State and the secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State respectively, Cardinal Domenico Calcagno and Msgr. Luigi Misto, president and secretary of APSA respectively.
Upon invitation by the Cardinal Secretary of State, the following speakers intervened: Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. and Alberto Gasbarri, director general and administrative director of Vatican Radio respectively; Marco Pacciarini, Lorenzo Suraci and Fernando Giménez Barriocanal, members of the Commission charged with formulating a technical appraisal of Vatican Radio; Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fidei), who gave a report on this latter Dicastery and on the Pontifical Missionary Works; Peter Sutherland, consultor for APSA, who explained the current macroeconomic situation and the investment policies of the aforementioned Administration; Ernst Von Freyborg, president of the IOR, who in conformity with article 25 § 2 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, gave a presentation to the Cardinal Fathers on the Institute’s current situation, followed by a broad discussion on suitable clarifications.
In addition, Msgr. Luigi Mistò spoke about the problem of safeguarding and appraising the patrimony of ecclesiastical entities.
Following an introduction by the Cardinal Secretary of State and Cardinal Versaldi, the accountant general first read the report on the consolidated financial statement of the Holy See for the year 2012 and subsequently that of the Governorate of Vatican City State. Msgr. Vallejo Balda instead focused on four areas – the Holy See-Roman Curia, the Holy See-Pastoral, the Holy See-Charity and Vatican City State – which together form the integrated financial statement of the two entities in question.
The consolidated financial statement for the Holy See for the year 2012 closes with a profit of 2,185,622, due mainly to good performance in financial management. The most significant categories of expenditure are those regarding the cost of personnel, numbering 2,823 units on 31 December 2012, means of social communication considered in their entirety, and the new property taxes (IMU) which resulted in an increase in expenditure of 5,000,000 compared to previous figures.
The Governorate has an autonomous Administration independent from contributions of the Holy See and, through its various Directions, provides for the needs relating to the management of the State. The 2012 financial statement, while affected by the global economic climate, closed with a profit of 23,079,800, an increase of over a million euros compared to that of the previous year. A total of 1,936 were employed on 31 December 2012.
Peter’s Pence, the contributions offered by the faithful in support of the Holy Father’s charity, passed from USD 69,711,722.76 in 2011, to USD 65,922,637.08, registering a reduction of 11.91%. Further contributions to the Holy See on the part of the Institutes of Consecrated Life, Societies of Apostolic Life and Foundations passed from USD 1,194,217.78, in 2011, to USD 1,133,466.91, with a reduction of 5.09%. In total, therefore, there has been a decrement of 7.45% compared to the total in US dollars recorded in 2011.
The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), as each year, offered the Holy Father a significant sum in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry. For 2012 this was a sum of 50,000,000, to which 1,000,000 is to be added for the Amazon Fund, 1,500,000 for the Pro orantibus Fund (support for cloistered monasteries), 1,500,000 for the San Sergio Fund (support for the Church in the former Soviet Union), 1,000,000 for the Commission for Latin America, and other minor donations.
The Cardinal Fathers reflected on the data presented in the financial statements, verifying the positive results attained, and encouraged the reform necessary to reduce costs through the simplification and rationalisation of existing bodies, as well as more careful planning of the activities of all administrations. The Members of the Council expressed their deep gratitude for the support given, often anonymously, to the Holy Father’s universal ministry in spite of moments of economic crisis, and encouraged perseverance in this good work.