Vatican projects nearly € 50m deficit due to COVID losses
Vatican says it expects a deficit of nearly $ 60.7 million this year due to losses from the pandemic, a figure that rises to $ 97 million when devotees’ donations are excluded
ROME – The Vatican said on Friday it expects a deficit of nearly 50 million euros ($ 60.7 million) this year due to losses from the pandemic, a figure that rises to 80 million euros ($ 97 million) when donations from worshipers are excluded.
The Vatican has run a deficit in recent years, bringing it down to 11 million euros in 2019 from a hole of 75 million euros in 2018. The Vatican said on Friday it expects the deficit to rise to 49.7 million euros in 2021 but that he planned to fill the deficit with reserves.
Francis was particularly keen to disclose to the faithful information about the Peter’s Pence collections, which are presented as a concrete means of helping the Pope in his ministry and works of charity, but is also used to lead the bureaucracy of the Holy See.
The funds have come under scrutiny amid a financial scandal over how these donations were invested by the Vatican Secretariat of State.
Vatican prosecutors investigating the office’s € 350 million investment in a real estate business in London said part of the money came from donations from Peter’s Pence. Other Vatican officials dispute this claim, but it has nonetheless become a cause of scandal.
Francis has defended the Vatican’s investment in Peter’s Pence funds, arguing that any good administrator invests money wisely rather than keeping it in a “drawer”.
According to a statement from the Economic Council, the Vatican collected some 47.3 million euros in income from the Peter’s Pence collections and other dedicated funds, and made 17 million euros in grants, leaving a net of about 30 million euros.
The amount of Peter’s Pence collections is much lower than ten years ago. In 2009, the collection reached $ 82.52 million, while the collection totaled $ 75.8 million in 2008 and $ 79.8 million in 2007. Sexual abuse and financial scandals in the church are believed to be at least partly responsible for the decline.
The Vatican’s comprehensive operating income fell 21% to 48 million euros last year. Its revenues have been hit hard by the closure of the Vatican Museums linked to the pandemic, which only received 1.3 million visitors in 2020, up from nearly 7 million the previous year. Museums, as well as Vatican real estate, provide the bulk of the Holy See’s liquidity.