Vatican lost over $ 100 million due to COVID-19 pandemic
St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy will be quiet for a second consecutive Easter as thecontinues to drive tourists away from Vatican City.
The Vatican depends on tourists for its income through donations, museum ticket sales, and visits to sites like the Sistine Chapel, one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions. The lack of tourists this year affects the Vatican’s financial results and forces wage cuts of up towho work in the Holy See.
The Vatican faces a shortfall of $ 108 million, according to CBS News Vatican contributor Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo. It is the latest blow to the Catholic Church, which has seen declining membership and ongoing controversy over sexual abuse scandals.
“There is real concern because we have both the declining number of Catholics, a loss of credibility for the Church due to the sexual abuse crisis and now the pandemic. boxing ring and not knowing where the next punch is coming from, “Msgr. Figueiredo told CBSN.
Widespread use of the coronavirus vaccine in Italy and beyond is perhaps the Vatican’s best hope for financial recovery. Pope Francis is leading a Vatican initiative to vaccinate 1,200 poor and homeless people, many of whom reside around St. Peter’s Square. The area is otherwise empty this Holy Week, which ends on April 3.
Experts fear that a weak recovery in tourism could financially devastate the Church. The Vatican’s immediate goal is to stop the bleeding by imposing a hiring freeze and leveraging other assets, like its real estate, while visits to its museums remain suspended.
The Vatican in 2019 sold around 8 million museum tickets – the number of tickets last year was down by around 75%.
“Right now they are doing everything to consolidate the losses and prevent themselves from losing more,” CBSN correspondent Chris Livesay said, citing a Vatican expert who said “the vaccine is their only hope.”