Data showed the Vatican bureaucracy reduced its deficit to 11 million euros ($ 12.92 million) last year from 75 million euros ($ 88 million) in 2018, even taking into account a decrease of 25 million euros ($ 29.36 million) in donations from dioceses and individuals.
But more than the income statement, the consolidated report provided the first publicly known information on the Vatican’s net worth – estimated at 1.4 billion euros ($ 1.6 billion) for the Holy See Curia. , or bureaucracy. The Vatican’s global heritage blossoms to four billion euros ($ 4.7 billion) including the cash cow of the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Bank and other sources of assets and funds.
The report also marked the first time that the Vatican has made public the distribution of its operating budget among the various offices of the Holy See, which serve as the central government of the 1.2 billion-strong Catholic Church. .
Surprisingly, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – for the last few decades perhaps the most well-known Vatican office as it deals with all cases of clergy sexual abuse – operates with an annual budget of 3.36 million dollars. euros ($ 3.95 million). This represents 1% of the Curia’s budget for its apostolic work, far less than what is budgeted for the Vatican library or apostolic archives.
The Congregation has long complained that it has too few people or resources to deal with the mountain of business that has come to the Vatican in recent years – business that has cost US dioceses and religious orders over $ 3 billion. dollars in legal settlements to victims of clergy abuse. and fees.
The Vatican released the information ahead of the Sunday collection for Peter’s Pence, the special additional donation that Catholic faithful are invited to make once a year to support the pope’s charities and fund the operations of the Holy See.
“The faithful have a right to know how we are using resources in the Holy See,” Vatican Finance Minister Reverend Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves said, explaining the decision to release the detailed information for the first time.
In an interview with internal Vatican media, Guerrero said the mission of the Holy See is not to make profit but to serve the church. We must expect deficits, he said, but also good management of resources.
“It is possible that in some cases the Holy See was not only badly advised, but also defrauded,” he said, referring to recent scandals. “I think we are learning from the mistakes or reckless (decisions) of the past.”
It was a reference to an ongoing Vatican corruption investigation that has already cost half a dozen Holy See employees their jobs, including a powerful cardinal.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, longtime number two in the Vatican Secretariat of State, was sacked last week after Francis said he had evidence the Italian embezzled 100,000 euros ($ 117,440) from the secretariat to fund a charitable organization controlled by his brother.
Becciu admitted that he sent the money but denied the wrongdoing, saying the funds were for charity in his home diocese, not his brother.
A more serious scandal dates back to 2014 when the Vatican – under Becciu – launched a real estate business by investing more than $ 200 million in a fund run by an Italian businessman. The deal gave the Holy See a 45% stake in a luxury Chelsea building in London.
The money came from the Secretary of State’s portfolio of assets, which is funded largely by donations from Peter’s Pence.
The Holy See decided in November 2018 to leave the investment fund, to end its relationship with the businessman and to buy the rest of the building at 60 Sloane Avenue. at the Holy See tens of millions of euros more in fees to intermediaries and triggered the investigation which upset the Vatican for a year.
Partly because of the scandal and the mismanagement of the Vatican Secretariat of State’s portfolio of assets, Guerrero wrested control of the funds and placed them under the direction of the central office of the Vatican Treasury, known as its acronym, APSA. The same was done for all the other departments of the Curia.
“Centralize [assets] will undoubtedly allow for greater transparency and more precise control, ”Guerrero said, adding that this also allows for a unified investment strategy that respects social doctrine and the ethical standards of the Catholic Church.