Here’s Why the Vatican is Selling Off its Assets

While reporting a near-balanced budget, the Vatican also admitted that every year, it was selling off assets to cover expenses.

While most news talks about businesses that were affected by the pandemic, the Church doesn’t have it easy either—since it also experienced its share of hardships, mainly in covering its expenses.

In a report by Agence France-Presse, the headquarters of the church itself—the Vatican—published its annual results last Friday, reporting a near-balanced budget. However, it also admitted that every year, it was selling off assets to cover expenses. According to Juan Antonio Guerrero, the Vatican’s de facto economy minister, the Holy See recorded a deficit in 2021 of 3.3 million euros (around PHP 186.38 million), much less than the projected amount of 33 million.

On Making Ends Meet

While seemingly not alarming in itself, Guerrero said that it could lead to a structural problem later on. “A deficit of three million euros in a budget of 1.1 billion is not a lot. [But] the fact is that the Holy See sells assets every year to cover curial services,” he explained in an interview with Vatican News.

“These sales were reducing the patrimony of the Holy See by 20 to 25 million euros [around PHP 112.96 million to PHP 141.19 million] every year,” he added.

Although the Vatican has been getting donations from loyal devotees and supporters, the amount is still not enough to sustain the Church’s expenses. “Each year’s donations, and what the Holy See can generate, cannot fund all the expenses of the entities that have no revenues,” Guerrero said.

Sustainable Funds, Not Surplus

But what do the further years have in store for the Vatican? Guerrero expressed that 2022 is, in his words, a “particularly difficult year, and so will 2023”. But even so, he aims for a more sustainable reservoir of funds. “We are not looking for surpluses but for [the] sustainability of the Holy See’s service.”

With that in mind, this year’s accounts show a wider range of assets compared to before, though it does not include the Vatican state—commonly known as the Vatican Bank. But with attempts of securing more funds, current leader Pope Francis emphasized for more transparency in the running of the Catholic Church, as it has seen its fair share of corruption scandals in recent years.


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