Holy See predicts more financial losses in 2021

Rome, Feb 19 (AFP/APP):The Holy See said Friday it expects a loss of almost 50 million euros ($60.6 million) this year, due to continued fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Pope Francis personally approved the figures released Friday for the Roman Curia, or Holy See, comprising about sixty different administrations that help him govern the Catholic Church.
It was the first time a provisional annual budget was publicised by the Secretariat for the Economy, as part of a drive towards greater transparency requested by the pope.
The Holy See anticipates revenues of 260.4 million euros and 310.1 million euros in expenses, leading to a deficit of 49.7 million euros in 2020, “heavily impacted” by the economic crisis generated by the pandemic.
It said it would dip into financial reserves to make up for the shortfall.
Due to fewer trips by the pope and conferences because of Covid-19, however, operating expenses, excluding personnel costs, fell by 14 percent, or 24 million euros, this year compared with 2019.
This year’s budget includes for the first time Peter’s Pence, or donations from the faithful to the pope for his charity work, estimated at 47 million euros, and other dedicated funds.
Without their contribution, the deficit for 2021 would have swollen to 80 million euros, the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy said.

– 2020 loss –
The Vatican has not yet released its 2020 accounts. But a senior official with knowledge of the matter told AFP Wednesday the Holy See expected a loss of around 90 million euros, with revenues down by 20 to 25 percent.
The source said the Holy See could tap its reserves for “a few years” without having to sell off real estate.
Peter’s Pence donations are expected to fall by around 25 percent in 2020, from 53 million euros collected in 2019.
Other major donations from dioceses or institutions are estimated to have fallen by a similar degree.
Vatican Museum revenues were down 85 percent in 2020, a loss of income “on the order of 100 million euros”, the source also said.
The Governorate of the Vatican City State, which manages the museums, has as a result cut by half the 30 million euros it normally turns over to the Roman Curia for its operations.
The Vatican, a major property owner, has also supported companies in difficulty by reducing or deferring commercial rents, which cost it more than five million euros.
Earlier this year, Francis stripped the management of financial holdings and properties — including Peter’s Pence — from the powerful Vatican Secretariat of State, transferring that important role to a different body in the wake of an ongoing scandal involving murky real estate deals.
The Secretariat of State — which used to manage Peter’s Pence — is at the centre of an explosive investigation into opaque financial arrangements related to a purchase of a luxury building in London’s Chelsea district, a case expected to go to trial at the Vatican this year.
In 2019, the last published figures, the Vatican posted a deficit of 11 million euros, after expenses of 318 million euros outpaced revenues of 307 million euros.

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