Holy See's budget shortfall shrinks in 2008

.- The Council responsible for studying the Vatican’s finances announced over the weekend that the Holy See has reported a deficit of about 900,000 euros for 2008, a fraction of the previous year’s deficit.

The Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See met at the Vatican from July 1 to 3, under the presidency of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. 

This past Saturday, the Council published a communique explaining the 2008 consolidated financial statements for the Holy See, the Governorate of the Vatican City State, and donations to Peter’s Pence.

The communique shows a deficit of 911,514 euros for the Holy See, the difference between an income of 253,953,869 euros and expenses of 254,865,383 euros.

Last year’s deficit was over 9 million euros.

The Holy See has 2,732 employees, 16 fewer than in 2007. Of this total number, 761 are priests, 334 religious and 1,637 lay people.

The Governorate of the Vatican City State, however, has posted a deficit of slightly over 15 million euros for 2008.  Last year, it registered a surplus of 6.7 million euros.

The finance council attributed a significant portion of this deficit to the study of an integrated communications infrastructure that includes telephone and internet services, as well as photoelectric panels installed on the roof of the Paul VI Hall. 

Also cited was the “notable economic and financial burden of protecting, evaluating and restoring the artistic heritage of the Holy See.” This includes restoration of the Pauline Chapel and work on St. Paul Outside-the-Walls and St. Mary Major.

The Governorate of Vatican City employs a total of 1,894 people, 99 more than in 2007. 

Finally, Peter's Pence brought in 54,387,714 euros in 2008. The Peter’s Pence fund is comprised of offerings to the Holy Father by particular Churches, especially for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Although the number of donations to the fund were more numerous than in 2007, the total amount decreased slightly due to the economy.

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