Vatican expects deficit of $60 million in 2021

CNA 556883b6b75c7 60999 The flag of Vatican City with St. Peter's Basilica in the background on May 29, 2015. / Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

The Vatican said on Friday that it expects to record a deficit of around $60 million in 2021 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Secretariat for the Economy said in a Feb. 19 statement that Pope Francis had approved this year's budget on Thursday evening.

It said: "With total revenues of 260.4 million euros [$316 million] and expenses of 310.1 million euros [$376 million], the Holy See expects a deficit of 49.7 million euros [$60 million] in 2021, heavily impacted by the economic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic."

The secretariat emphasized that the Vatican budget consolidated both the Peter's Pence Fund and all dedicated funds for the first time. It said that this step was taken to give "more visibility and transparency to the economic transactions of the Holy See -- as repeatedly requested by the Holy Father."

"With incomes of 47.3 million euros [$57 million] and grants of 17 million euros [$21 million], the Holy See expects a net balance of 30.3 million euros [$37 million] from those items," it said.

"Excluding Peter's Pence and the dedicated funds, the deficit of the Holy See would be 80 million euros [$97 million] in 2021."

The secretariat noted that operating incomes fell by 21% in 2020, the year that the pandemic struck Europe, compared to 2019. It explained that this was caused by "a reduction on commercial, services and real estate activities, as well as donations and contributions." 

It said: "The budget also reflects a significant effort on cost containment, with operating expenses -- excluding personnel costs, going down by 14% ... compared to 2019."

"Employment security continues to be a priority for the Holy Father in these difficult times."

The 2021 budget was proposed by the Secretariat for the Economy and approved by the Vatican's Council for the Economy on Feb. 16, before being sent to Pope Francis.

The secretariat said that 68% of the Holy See's total expenses will be devoted to its apostolic activities, with 17% allocated to the management of the patrimony and other assets, and 15% for administration and service activities.

"If the level of donations remains as expected, the deficit will be settled with part of the reserves of the Holy See," the secretariat said.

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