Council for the Economy discusses 2021 Vatican budget

A view of St Peters Basilica 1 and Vatican City flag from the roof of a nearby building on June 5 2015 Credit Bohumil Petrik CNA 6 5 15 St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican flag. | Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

The Vatican's Council for the Economy met on Tuesday to discuss the details of the annual budget for 2021.

The Feb. 16 meeting took place online, with cardinals and lay council members connecting from the Vatican and other countries around the world. 

According to a press release, the virtual assembly focused on the Holy See's annual budget for the current year, presented by Spanish layman Maximino Caballero Ledo, who was appointed to the number two position in the Secretariat for the Economy in August.

The Vatican's budget, which already operated on a deficit, took another hit in 2020 and the beginning of 2021, when the Vatican Museums, a major source of income, was forced to close for more than 24 weeks. 

For the Holy See, the coronavirus crisis also meant collapsing market investments, uncertain income from real estate investments, and diminished contributions from the Church around the world.

Caballero's presentation was followed by information from the audit committee. Emilio Ferrara, secretary-general of the Secretariat for the Economy, also spoke about principles for application of two points in Pope Francis' law reorganizing Vatican finances, issued at the end of 2020.

In the document, the pope formalized the transfer of financial responsibilities from the Vatican's Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which functions as the Holy See's treasury and sovereign wealth manager.

Particular attention was given "to the approval of budgets and financial statements and the appointment of official auditors," the press release said.

The meeting closed with a discussion of the statutes of the audit committee. The Council for the Economy plans to next meet in April. 

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