Pope Francis, on Thursday February 18, provided his nulla osta to the Holy See’s budget for 2021 proposed by the Secretariat for the Economy and approved on Tuesday by the Council for the Economy.
This year, with total revenues of €260.4M and expenses of €310.1M, the Holy See expects a deficit of €49.7M.
The approved budget, said a statement from the Holy See Press Office, “is heavily impacted by the economic crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
As repeatedly requested by Pope Francis, for the first time, with the objective of providing more visibility and transparency to the economic transactions of the Holy See, the 2021 Budget is consolidating St. Peter’s Pence Fund (Obolo) and all dedicated Funds, the statement said.
In this regard, with incomes of €47.3M and grants of €17M, the Holy See expects a net balance of €30.3M from those items. Excluding the Peter’s Pence and dedicated funds, the statement notes, the Holy See’s deficit would be €80M in 2021.
The statement points out that operating incomes decreased by 21 per cent (€48M) compared with 2019, due to a reduction on Commercial, Services and Real Estate activities as well as Donations and Contributions.
At the same time, the budget reflects a significant effort on cost containment, with Operating Expenses – excluding Personnel Costs, going down by 14 per cent (€24M) compared to 2019. The statement goes on to assure that “employment security continues to be a priority for the Holy Father in these difficult times.”
“Consistent with its mission, the majority of the resources of the Holy See in 2021 will be dedicated to sustaining its Apostolic activities, with 68% of the total expenses,” the statement said. Meanwhile “17 per cent are allocated to the management of the patrimony and other assets, and 15 per cent to administration and service activities.”
Concluding, the statement noted that if the level of donations remains as expected, the deficit will be settled with part of the reserves of the Holy See.