Vatican City State and Holy See back in the financial black
By David Kerr
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.- The Vatican City State ran up a surplus of $30 million over the past year, after three years of deficit. The figure was revealed in financial results published July 2.

“Both the excellent performance of the Vatican Museums – thanks especially to the increase in visitors, which runs against the current worldwide trend in the tourism industry – and the upswing in financial markets contributed to this positive result,” the report noted.

The figures show that in the last financial year the revenue of the Vatican City State was $371 million, while expenditure was $341 million.

The annual results have been published by the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Financial Problems of the Holy See. The committee is comprised of senior cardinals drawn from around the world, who have responsibility for financial oversight within the Vatican City State and the Holy See.

The cardinals met in Rome on July 1 and 2 for a meeting chaired by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. Today’s report was issued in the name of Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs.

According to the report, there has also been a slight decrease in the number of staff working in the Vatican City State. The figure has gone down from 1,891 in 2009 to 1,876 in 2010.

The Vatican City State is a sovereign territory created in 1929. It is distinct from the Holy See, which has been in existence from early Christian times. It is the Holy See, and not the Vatican City State, which represents the Pope diplomatically across the world. The financial results for both were published on July 2.

They show that the revenue of the Holy See was $356 million in 2010 while its expenditure was $342 million, resulting in a surplus of $14 million.

The past year’s balance review for the Holy See would, in its own words, “seem to confirm the positive tendency of 2009, notwithstanding the elements of uncertainty and instability still present in the world economic and financial situation.”

It also showed an increase in the number of people working for the Holy See, up from 2,762 in 2009 to 2,806 in 2010.

The balance sheet of the Holy See got a boost of over $67 million from the annual collection held among Catholics around the world for the Pope’s charitable works, a tradition known as “Peter’s Pence.” That number is down from last year, however.

“The Members of the Council express their wholehearted gratitude to all those who contributed, recognizing that their generosity is a real and vital support for and participation in the pastoral and charitable work of the Holy Father, especially in situations of calamity and emergency in various parts of the world,” concluded the report.

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