The Vatican projects a budget deficit of €33 million ($30 million) for 2020, with $721 million in expenses exceeding an anticipated $691 million in revenues.Vatican projects $30 million deficit for 2022 | News Headlines | Catholic Culture
Although the expected deficit is less than last year’s $38 million figure, the continuing shortfall will force the Vatican to dip into reserves. And the difficulty is complicated by a sharp decline in contributions to the worldwide Peter’s Pence collection.
Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, presented the basic budget figures to Vatican News. He said that the Secretariat for the Economy would soon be offering a full accounting of expenditures to the world’s bishops—and hinted that dioceses may be asked to help make up the Vatican shortfall. “We certainly need a plan to improve revenues,” he said.
Father Guerrero said that cost-cutting measures have sharply curtailed spending within the Roman Curia. But at the same time the Vatican’s budget has expanded to include institutions that—although they are not formally part of the Vatican—“are under the financial responsibility of the Holy See.” Included in this category are the cash-strapped Bambino Jesu hospital, several foundations, the four major Roman basilicas, and shrines at Loreto, Pompei, and Padua. Because of the inclusion of these institutions, the budget managed by the Vatican has soared from €300 million to over $800 million, and Father Guerrero expects it will soon exceed €1 billion.
Regarding the Peter’s Pence collection, taken up around the world to support the Holy See, Father Guerrero reported a troubling decline in recent years. This year he anticipates a 15% decline in donations, on top of an 18% decline the previous year. While some of the drop can be attributed to the results of the Covid lockdown, the Peter’s Pence revenues had sunk by 23% in the previous five years, suggesting a serious long-term trend. “This should make us think about other methods of soliciting the help of the faithful and receiving donations,” Father Guerrero remarked.
The prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy said that Vatican expenditures are now firmly under control, with recent reforms providing guarantees of responsible stewardship. “The time of making economic operations arbitrarily and without giving an account is over,” he promised. However Father Guerrero may have undermined the credibility of that claim by insisting that a disastrous real-estate transaction in London, which has been the prime subject of a historic Vatican criminal trial, was “an operation carried out in full transparency and according to the new rules for Vatican contracts.”