.- Earlier today in the Vatican, the Holy See released its financial records for 2004 which show the Churchâs monetary work toward caring for the poor, preserving artistic heritage, and assisting local churches in efforts of evangelization. On Friday, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano presided at the 39th meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, which studied the records.
In attendance at Fridayâs meeting were, Cardinals Thomas Stafford Williams, Roger Michael Mahony, Camillo Ruini, Jean-Claude Turcotte, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, Ivan Dias, Claudio Hummes O.F.M., and Edward Michael Egan as well as by His Beatitude Michel Sabbah.
Numerous representatives from offices of the Holy See also participated:, including Cardinals Sergio Sebastiani, Attilio Nicora and Edmund Casimir Szoka, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli and Bishop Franco Croci.
The consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2004 were presented by Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Vaticanâs Prefecture for Economic Affairs.
According to the Vatican, these statements showed that the year closed with a surplus of 3,081,820.00 euro, an improvement over 2003 which closed with a deficit of 9.56 million euro.
The Holy Seeâs total income for 2004, it showed, was 205,663,266.00 euro, and total expenditure of 202,581,446.00 euro.
Cardinal Sebastiani said that, "A large part of the expenditureâ¦is made up of the expenses of dicasteries and organizations of the Roman Curia which assist, each in its own way, the Roman Pontiff in his pastoral service to the Universal Church and to the particular Churches. ... A total of 2,663 people work in the Roman Curia, of whom 759 are ecclesiastics, 346 religious and 1,558 lay people. Pensioners number 1,429."
The Vatican City Stateâs consolidated financial statements for 2004 were also presented on Friday. They showed that the fiscal year closed with a surplus of 5,371,194.00 euro.
"Great economic commitment has been shown," the cardinal noted, "in safeguarding, evaluating, and restoring the Holy See's artistic heritage, ... and in supporting Vatican Radio, by contributing to covering half the station's running costs. Employees of Vatican City State number 1,560, pensioners 878."
Lastly, members of the council studied Peter's Pence, the fund used to finance the Holy Father's works of evangelical solidarity. In 2004, they found, this fund amounted to 43,186,899 euro, a drop of 7.4% with respect to 2003.
They noted that the Pope used Peterâs Pence "to alleviate the suffering of peoples hit by natural catastrophes; to assist initiatives in favor of the orphans of victims of armed conflict and of AIDS; to help bring the assistance of the Church to areas of great tension; to support centers of Christian formation in the world, and other activities."
Pope Benedict himself, also made a brief appearance at the meeting. He took the meetingâs opportunity to stress the importance of material goods for the announcement of the Gospel and the spiritual mission of the Church. He also wished to be personally informed about the proceedings.
The presentation of these statements were officially released to the public during a press conference this morning at the Vatican.