The Holy See’s finances in 2020 were not as bad as expected
The Holy See said its financial situation in 2020 was not as affected by the pandemic as previously feared.
This is what emerges from its consolidation financial statement, which was released to the public on July 24.
The Holy See had a deficit of 66.3 million euros in 2020 against 11.1 million the previous year.
But this poor result was nevertheless “slightly better than the best scenario projected”, according to Jesuit Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, head of the Vatican Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
Forecasts after the start of the pandemic pointed to a much larger deficit – from € 68m at best to € 146m at worst.
Vatican accounts plunged into the red due to a drop in extraordinary results (minus 17.8 million compared to 2019) and a drop in financial investments (minus 51.8 million).
Unsurprisingly, the Vatican’s business activities also fell (less than 11.6 million), given the long shutdown of its world-famous and still popular museums and catacombs.
“Positive steps on the road to reform”
However, Guerrero stressed that “the good news is that, thanks to the efforts made, the results are very close to those of a normal year”.
The ordinary deficit for 2020 is 14.4 million euros lower than that of 2019 (64.8 million euros compared to 79.2 million the previous year).
The Jesuit particularly welcomed the budget cuts made by the Vatican dicasteries (departments and large offices) which have led to a reduction in the ordinary expenditure of the Roman Curia by 26 million euros.
“The pandemic has helped the dicasteries […] to take some positive steps on the road to reform, ”Guerrero said.
The Vatican has drawn less from Peter’s moneys (goodwill offerings from individual Catholics) than in previous years as a means of offsetting expenses related to the mission of the Church.
Instead, it gave more funding to local churches in need due to COVID-19.
In addition, donations (from dioceses around the world to the Holy See) remained virtually unchanged, dropping from 55.8 million euros in 2019 to 56.2 million in 2020.
APSA publishes its report for the first time
The coronavirus pandemic also impacted the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), one of the budget management bodies of the Curia.
It achieved an operating profit of 21.99 million euros, compared to 51.2 million compared to 2019.
For the first time in its history, APSA published its balance sheet for the year 2020.
In a detailed report, he revealed that he managed 4,051 properties in Italy and 1,120 abroad.
One of these properties is at the center of the London financial scandal, which is the subject of a trial in a court that opens Tuesday, July 27 inside the Vatican.
The Vatican Secretariat of State bought this London property to turn it into luxury apartments, an acquisition that instead generated big losses.
The Vatican’s economic secretary said on Saturday they were making great efforts on financial transparency, as part of Pope Francis’ fight against corruption.
“We come from a culture of secrecy, but in economics we have learned that transparency protects us more than secrecy,” Guerrero said.