Over the past decade at least, financial scandals involving theft and money laundering hounded the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and its Financial Information Authority. Ongoing financial reforms made under the current CEO Bergoglio are not enough to improve its cash flow.
Back in 2019, Reuters reported that,
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Vatican police raided the offices of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and its Financial Information Authority, or AIF, on Tuesday and took away documents and electronic devices as part of an investigation of suspected financial irregularities, a Vatican statement said.
It was believed to be the first time the two departments were searched for evidence involving alleged financial crimes.
The Secretariat of State, the most powerful department in the Vatican, is the nerve center of its bureaucracy and diplomacy and the administrative heart of the worldwide Catholic Church.
The AIF, headed by Swiss lawyer Rene Bruelhart, is the financial controller, with authority over all Vatican departments.
The Vatican statement gave no details except to say that the operation was a follow-up to complaints filed in the summer by the Vatican bank and the Office of the Auditor General and were related to “financial operations carried out over the course of time”.
A senior Vatican source said he believed the operation, which the statement said had been authorized by Vatican prosecutors, had to do with real estate transactions.
Philip Pullella, Reuters
Financial scandals and pedophilia were among the reasons why Pope Maledict resigned from the post in 2013. But…
Since the election of Pope Francis in 2013, the Vatican has made great strides in cleaning up its often murky financial reputation.
Last year, a former head of the Vatican bank and an Italian lawyer went on trial to face charges of money laundering and embezzlement through real estate deals. It is still in progress.
Now, the Vatican is appealing to its avid supporters to help it with more donations, or they will cease operating for the latter’s spiritual upliftment.
ROME — The Vatican warned Friday that it has nearly depleted its financial reserves from past donations to cover budget deficits over recent years, as it urged continued giving from the faithful to keep the Holy See afloat and Pope Francis’ ministry going.
The Vatican published its 2021 budget in its latest effort at greater financial transparency amid a predicted 50 million euro budget deficit this year. The aim is to reassure donors that their money is being well spent, following years of mismanagement that is currently the focus of a Vatican corruption investigation.
Francis’ economy minister, the Rev. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, said the coronavirus pandemic, which reduced donations as well as revenue from the shuttered Vatican Museums, would contribute to a projected 30% reduction in revenue to 213 million euros in 2021, from 307 million euros in 2019, the last year available.
He noted the Vatican had achieved significant cost-cutting during the lockdown last year, with drastically reduced travel, consultation fees, conference and assembly costs and putting off unnecessary real estate repairs and maintenance. In an interview with Vatican Media, Guerrero said he expected to further cut expenditures by 8% in 2021, without resorting to layoffs, which Francis opposes.
But even then, the 50 million euro deficit expected for 2021 will require once again dipping into reserves of past donations to cover expenses. Guerrero confirmed that in 2019, the Vatican used 27.2 million euros in Peter’s Pence reserves to cover its operating costs, on top of the 53.8 million euros in revenue to the Peter’s Pence fund that year.
In 2020, he estimated the Vatican took 40 million euros in Peter’s Pence reserves and that a similar amount was expected in 2021.
Peter’s Pence funds, usually offered during an annual collection at Mass, are billed as a concrete way to help the pope in his ministry and works of charity but are also used to run the Holy See bureaucracy.
“This recourse to Peter’s Pence reserves in recent years means that the liquidity of the fund is being depleted and with the current crisis it is very likely that in 2022 we will have to resort to some extent to the assets of APSA,” he said, referring to the Vatican’s central bank, which manages the Holy See’s real estate and other financial investments.