Vatican posts third straight financial loss

Vatican posts third straight financial loss

The Vatican said today it has posted its third straight financial loss, registering a €4.1m deficit for 2009.

The financial report released today by the Holy See’s press office listed revenues of €250.18m against expenses of €254.28m.

Most of the expenses went to support Pope Benedict XVI’s activities and the Holy See’s offices, especially Vatican Radio, the report said.

In 2008, the Vatican was €900,000 in the red; a year earlier it posted a €9.06m deficit.

The report said the separate administration of the Vatican City state was particularly hit by the economic crisis as well as by high costs to improve the Vatican’s telecommunications system and restore its cultural treasures and ensure security.

However cost-cutting allowed the tiny state to record a loss of only €7.81m, less than half the €15.3m it lost in 2008.

The Vatican said annual donations from churches worldwide, the so-called Peter’s Pence, were up in 2009, with Catholics donating $82.52m last year.

In 2008, the faithful gave $75.8m and $79.8m in 2007. Leading donors were from the US, Italy and France.

The pope uses the fund to help churches in poor countries and other charitable causes.

In addition, the Vatican’s bank, the Institute for Religious Works, gave the pope an additional €50m in 2009 for his charitable works.

The Vatican has published the annual report since 1981, when Pope John Paul II ordered financial disclosure as part of his efforts to debunk the idea that the Vatican is rich.

Up until two years ago, the report was released on the same day a senior Vatican cardinal held a news conference to explain the financial picture.

Asked why such briefings are no longer scheduled, a Vatican official said they had been stopped because journalists asked “uncomfortable” questions.

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