A less bleak financial report for the Vatican in 2003

Source: FSSPX News


Vatican finances are in the red again for the third straight year. But the deficit is shrinking: the report for 2003 is in the hole 9.5 million euros as compared with 13.5 million in 2002. As for the Vatican City’s report, it is also negative, with a deficit of nearly 9 million euros, a deficit reduction of 45% from the year before.

The pope’s minister of Finance, Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, made these figures public in Rome on July 7. With revenues of 203.66 million euros and expenses of 213.22 million euros in 2003, the Holy See recorded a deficit of 9.57 million euros, a reduction of 29% compared with 2002. The main expenses were due to the functioning of the Roman Curia, with its 2,674 salaried employees, of which 1,575 are lay. Added to this are nearly a thousand retired persons.

The Vatican City State, which rules the 44 hectares representing the territory of the Vatican and employs 1,534 people, had for its part a deficit of 8.82 million euros, a reduction of 45% compared with the 16.05 million in losses recorded in 2002. A part of this loss is explained by the gift of around 10.5 million euros made by the State to cover the costs of Vatican Radio.

Peter’s Pence – the gifts made to the pope from dioceses throughout the world – went up 5.7% compared with 2002 with a total of 55.85 million dollars (49.3 million euros). “This sum is essentially ear-marked for the populations of various countries struck by calamities” such as war, floods, diseases or earthquakes, explained Cardinal Sebastiani, but also for the Third World in general and the Holy Land.

In short, the total amount of gifts from the local churches and ecclesial institutions, in virtue of code 1271 of the Code of Canon Law, has diminished. In 2003, they rose to 79.6 millions compared with 85.4 million in 2002, which in turn was a dramatic increase of 250% over 2001. The United States remained the largest donor, followed by Germany and Italy. Spain came in fourth, Austria fifth, followed by Canada, South Korea and Poland.

Analyzing these results, the Roman prelate declared: “The drop in expenditures of the Holy See is due to a conscious policy.” And the new Treasurer General of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Paolo Trombetta, added: “As in the large dioceses of New York or Munich, where we have sent experts to observe their operations, expenditures have been reduced to a minimum. Personnel requirements have been kept as low as possible at the Vatican as they have in the nunciatures.”