Economic Report of the Holy See for 2000

By Head of Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 6, 2001 (ZENIT.org).- Here is the presentation made this morning on the economic report of the Holy See for 2000. Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, made the presentation at a press conference.



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Together with my closest collaborators, I have the pleasure of presenting the Consolidated Financial Statement of the Holy See for fiscal year 2000.

Being a consolidated financial statement, this represents the sum of all the expenses and the income of the diverse Vatican administrations which enter into the consolidation: the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) which is the largest; the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; the Apostolic Camera; Vatican Radio; Osservatore Romano -- Vatican Press (incorporated into one with regard to administration); the Vatican Television Center; and the Vatican Publishing House.

For the eighth consecutive year, the operating statement for fiscal year 2000 for the Holy See closes with a net gain of 17.720 billion, equal to $8,516,000 US at the exchange rate at the end of the year of 2,080.89 lire per dollar. The total expenses were 404.378 billion and the total income was 422.098 billion. Compared with the previous fiscal year, the income was more substantial, having increased by 64 billion. As is easily imaginable, the increase in expenses is strictly related to the celebration of the Jubilee Year, which brought with it greater activity, and therefore a greater need for personnel, within the various offices of the Roman Curia and also of the media organs connected with the Holy See. In fact, in 2000 the number of our employees was approximately 2,700, with an increase of roughly 70 persons. The increase in income came particularly from a favourable monetary situation. With these introductory remarks, I turn now to an analysis of the principal entries of the operating statement, which as usual are expressed categorically in the following four sectors.

1) Institutional Activity. This first sector encompasses all the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia (Secretariat of State, Congregations, Councils, Tribunals, Synod of Bishops, and various offices); these assist the Holy Father more closely in his ministry as Universal Pastor at the service of the particular Churches and also for the benefit of humanity as a peacemaker in today´s world. Since these are organs that are called to render service, they do not ordinarily produce income. From this come the significance of the prescriptions of Canon 1271 of the Code of Canon Law, which freely invites the Bishops to meet the needs of the Holy See, according to their means, in order to offer their service to the Universal Church, just as, according to Canon 1263, the diocesan curiae are sustained by the free offers from the parishes.

The income derived from these oblations reached the come of 43.219 billion in 2000, with an increase of roughly 2 billion from the figure for 1999. To this wave of solidarity were united the offers from religious institutes as well as foundations, associations, Catholic entities, and the faithful, from which was received a sum of 78.417 billion.

As for expenses, which amounted to roughly 188 billion, I would like to underline the fact that the significant increase was caused not only by personnel, of which I have already spoken, but also by greater general and administrative expenditures and by repairs and maintenance of the Nunciatures of our Papal Representatives.

This important sector therefore closed with a deficit equal to 57.694 billion, the total income having amounted to 130 billion.

2) Financial Activity. In this sector are included the financial activities of the seven consolidated administrations, of which the largest is APSA Ordinary Section. We have been fortunate, in that the net result of this sector closed with a gain of 125.184 billion, higher by approximately 38 billion than that of 1999. This brilliant result is substantially due to three factors: the appreciation of the dollar, which increased in value for almost the whole year, with a slight drop in the final months; the performance of the financial markets, in which bonds gave good results in contrast to stocks with regard to the sector of the "new economy"; and the good outcome of the buying and selling of securities that took place during the year. It is to be noted, in fact, that according to statutes, APSA Extraordinary Section, in contrast to banking institutions, must attend before all else to the maintenance of the assets.

3) The real estate sector in fiscal year 2000 shows expenses of 51.852 billion and income of 81.749 billion, thus closing with a gain of 29.887 billion, higher by roughly 11 billion than that of 1999, because of fewer expenditures for maintenance and repairs effectuated before the Jubilee year.

4) The activity of the Media Institutions connected with the Holy See presented a deficit of 37.711 billion, the regular income having amounted to 43.206 billion and the expenses to 80.917 billion. In comparison with the preceding fiscal year, the results for Vatican Radio and for Osservatore Romano are more grave, with deficits greater by 4 billion, because of the greater activity that came with the Jubilee year. At the same time, the Vatican Television Center managed to close with a result substantially equal to that of the previous year. With regard to Vatican Radio, it is necessary to add a note of applause in view of the enormous amount of activity undertaken on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. It is enough to think that the number of hours transmitted in the year were almost 24,000, and that many Jubilee events were transmitted in 60 languages. The listener´s ratings also increased because of connections with numerous local radio stations.

The last part of the operating statement pertains to various income and expense, which present a deficit of approximately 42 billion, of which 30 billion are attributed to an allocation to cover the costs of the fund shown in the liabilities on the balance sheet, destined to meet the expenses of payments of pensions to employees who retired before 1993.

I have had the privilege of presenting the Consolidated Financial Statement of the Holy See for the year 2000 to the Holy Father in the course of an audience granted to me on 22 June and to present it also to the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, which met yesterday. The financial statement now will be translated into various languages and sent to the Bishops and Superiors General of Religious Institutes.

In conclusion, permit me to underline that from 1993 to 2000 all the consolidated financial statements of the Holy See have closed in the black. This has been made possible not only by a vigilant control of costs but above all by the ever greater sum that comes to us from Bishops, Religious, Foundations, Associations, Catholic entities, and the faithful, on behalf of whom I ask you to convey my most lively gratitude, together with the following consideration: economic autonomy is for the Church the best guarantee of liberty in her mission of evangelization without dependence upon the powerful of this world; it is for this that the Holy See is not ashamed extend her hand, because it is the poor and not the rich who enjoy this auto-sufficiency.

[Text from Vatican]