Holy See Posts 3rd Straight Annual Deficit

Vatican Radio Among Reasons for Shortfall

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See announced that it closed its accounts for 2003 in the red for the third consecutive year.



The year's loss was 29.1% less than the previous year, 9.56 million euros ($11.8 million) compared with 13.5 million euros ($16.6 million) in 2002, as revealed in a statement of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Holy See's Organizational and Economic Problems, which met Tuesday.

The note explains that the Holy See's accounts for 2003 showed revenues of 203 million euros ($251 million) and net expenses of 213 million euros ($263 million).

The Holy See does not generate its own income, with the exception of donations from dioceses, congregations, orders and faithful worldwide.

On the contrary, its operations generate only expenses. A total of 2,674 people work in the Roman Curia, of whom 755 are ecclesiastics, 344 religious, and 1,575 lay people. There are some 1,000 retirees.

The Holy See's accounts also include the expenses of the 118 apostolic nunciatures and pontifical representations worldwide, representatives in international organizations, and media expenses.

The financial accounts of Vatican City State, independent of those of the Holy See, and which include the services proper to this city (from the museums to the pharmacy and police corps), also closed in the red.

They posted a deficit of 8.8 million euros ($10.9 million), compared with the previous-year loss of 16 million euros ($19.8 million).

These losses were occasioned by the restoration of Vatican buildings and works of art, and the contribution of 10.4 million euros ($12.9 million) that the government of Vatican City State gave to Vatican Radio to cover its debt, the cardinals' statement explains. Vatican City State has 1,534 employees.

The note states that, in particular, during their meeting the cardinals addressed the topic of the Holy See's media, in particular Vatican Radio, which is one of the reasons for its deficit.

"The Church is very sensitive to the use of these instruments that require considerable financial resources and continuous technological innovations, but they provide an important and fruitful information service on the activity and teaching of the Holy Father and of the universal Church," the cardinals note says. "They also contribute to pastoral formation, in particular for those countries that have limited resources for evangelization."

On Thursday, Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, will illustrate these financial accounts in detail to the press. The meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Holy See's Organizational and Financial Problems was presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state.

Among the participants were Cardinals Joachim Meisner, Bernard Law, José Freire Falcão, Roger Mahony, Camillo Ruini, Jean-Claude Turcotte, Ricardo Maria Carles Gordó, Ivan Dias, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Edward Egan.

The Holy See's organizations were represented by Cardinal Sebastiani, for Cardinal Edmund Szoka, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, as well as by Cardinal Attilio Nicora and Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president and secretary, respectively, of the administration of the patrimony of the Apostolic See.