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Vatican reports deficit for 2007, partly due to poor stock market

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After three years in the black, the Vatican reported a $14 million deficit for 2007, due mainly to the continued fall in the value of the U.S. dollar and the poor performance of the stock market.

The budget of Vatican City State, which includes the Vatican Museums and post office, ended 2007 with a surplus of $10.5 million, the Vatican said in notes on the budgets released July 9.

While Vatican City did not report a deficit, the 2007 final earnings were just one-third of those reported at the end of 2006.

The $14 million deficit regarded what is technically the budget of the Holy See, which includes the Vatican Secretariat of State and its diplomatic missions around the world, Vatican congregations and pontifical councils, the Holy See's investment portfolio and properties as well as the Vatican's newspaper, radio, publishing house and television production center.

The investment portfolio ended 2007 with income of $2.2 million compared to the $21.5 million it returned to Vatican coffers at the end of 2006.

The drop principally was due to "the brusque and very accentuated" drop in the value of the U.S. dollar, the statement said. Most donations to the Vatican and some of its investments are in dollars, but the Vatican's expenses are mainly in euros.

The Vatican reported income of about $372 million and expenses of $386 million, despite the fact that it managed to lower the costs of running Vatican offices by about $1.2 million. The Vatican also did better in 2007 than in 2006 with income from the property it owns around the Vatican; the real estate sector brought in about $57 million in 2007 from rent and the sale of some property.

The budget line that includes Vatican Radio -- which does not accept advertising -- and the Vatican newspaper -- which accepts very little -- ended 2007 with a negative $22.9 million. The figure was not as bad as it would have been because of combined earnings of more than $4.7 million by the Vatican publishing house, printing press and television production center.

Bishops' conferences, dioceses, religious orders and various institutions and foundations contributed more than $135 million in donations to the Holy See in 2007, close to $200,000 more than similar groups gave in 2006.

The figure included $29.5 million given by dioceses around the world to help offset the costs of running the church's central administration. Of the total from dioceses, more than $9.3 million came from Germany, more than $8.3 million from the United States and $5.5 million from Italy.

The separate statement on the budget of Vatican City State said its smaller than usual surplus was attributed mainly to the poor performance of its investments. While Vatican City State earned $11.3 million on its investments for the 2006 calendar year, it closed 2007 with a loss of $12.5 million.

Also July 9, the Vatican published the results of the 2007 Peter's Pence collection, which is taken up in Catholic parishes around the world in late June and funds charitable causes chosen by the pope.

In 2007, the Vatican said, the collection totaled more than $79.8 million and was used to fund disaster relief and to assist Catholic communities in the world's poorest countries.

As in the past, Catholics in the United States were the top donors to Peter's Pence, contributing more than $18.7 million or about 28 percent of the total. They were followed by Italian Catholics who gave more than $8.6 million and German Catholics who gave more than $4 million.

In addition, the Vatican said, the Holy See received an offering of more than $14.3 million "from a donor who wanted to remain anonymous."

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0803583.htm
de omnibus dubitandum

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