Vatican projects budget deficit for 2022 as pandemic continues

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Presenting a budget projection that foresees a deficit of $37.1 million in 2022, the prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy said he believes the Vatican is on the way to honesty and transparency in financial matters.

“We are well aware that we have made major errors in financial management, which have undermined the credibility of the Holy See. We seek to learn from them and we believe we have remedied them so that they do not happen again,” the prefect, Jesuit Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, told Vatican News.

The Secretariat released the Vatican’s “Mission Budget” for 2022 on Jan. 28, reflecting a new approach to reporting income and expenses for the offices of the Roman Curia and related institutions.

The “mission budget” does not only include the Vatican Secretariat of State, apostolic nunciatures around the world and the dicasteries, councils and commissions of the Roman Curia, Fr. Guerrero said. It also includes entities that “are either owned by the Holy See or depend on and are under the financial responsibility of the Holy See”, including the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in Rome, the four great basilicas of Rome and the sanctuaries of Loreto, Pompeii and Padua. The Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, the San Giovanni Rotondo hospital founded by Saint Padre Pio, will be included in next year’s budget, he said.

The combined budget of the 60 entities that were part of the previous Holy See budget would have been nearly 300 million euros ($334 million) for 2022, but with the addition of the 30 new entities in the “budget of the mission”, the combined budget for 2022 is close to 800 million euros, he said.

The new combination also includes foundations and other entities that generate income for the activity of the Holy See and the Church in the world, so that the projected deficit is approximately 12 million euros lower than what it would have been, according to the report.

The ongoing pandemic is having a negative impact on Vatican finances and this is expected to continue, according to the budget.

While cost containment is always the goal, Fr. Guerrero told Vatican News, “this year, trying to be optimistic, we have budgeted 13 million euros in ordinary income more than last year. , (but) we will see how the pandemic behaves”.

The Jesuit also told Vatican News that he is preparing a detailed report on Peter’s worldwide collection of denarii and will send it to episcopal conferences around the world.

While the numbers won’t be final until the end of February, he said, “basically I can say that in 2021 there was still a drop from the previous year, which I would venture to amount to no less than 15%. ”

“If in 2020 the total collection of Peter’s Pence was 44 million, in 2021 I don’t think it will be more than 37 million,” he said. “The drop in 2021 comes on top of the 23% drop between 2015 and 2019 and the 18% drop in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.”

Peter’s Pence is a papal fund used for charitable purposes, but also to support the operation of the Roman Curia and Vatican embassies around the world. The collection for the fund takes place each year around June 29, feast of Saints. Peter and Paul.

Father Guerrero also confirmed to Vatican News that a buyer has been found for the Sloane Avenue property in London’s upscale Chelsea district, which is at the heart of a Vatican lawsuit for 10 people, including Cardinal Angelo. Becciu, accused of financial embezzlement.

The Financial Times had reported in November that the Vatican was in the final stages of a deal to sell the property for the equivalent of more than $270 million, which would mean it would lose up to $135 million on the property.

Father Guerrero did not provide exact figures but acknowledged there had been a loss.

“The sales contract has been signed, we have received 10% of the deposit and it (the sale) will be concluded in June,” he said. “The loss of the alleged scam, which has been much talked about and is now being tried in the Vatican courts, was already taken into account in the balance sheet. The building was sold above the valuation we had on the balance sheet and the expertise made by the specialized institutions.

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Copyright © 2022 Catholic News Service/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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