by John Thavis
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican reported a budget surplus for the first time in four years in 2010, but said contributions from Catholics and dioceses around the world had gone down.
The budget of the Holy See, which includes offices of the Roman Curia and related agencies, ended 2010 with a surplus of about $13.1 million.
The separate budget of Vatican City State, which includes the Vatican Museums, ended 2010 with a surplus of about $28 million, according to a Vatican statement July 2.
The figures were released following a three-day meeting of a council of cardinals charged with reviewing Vatican finances. The statement said the Vatican’s financial picture continued to improve, but it cautioned that the global financial picture still presented “elements of uncertainty and instability.”
Global Giving Declines
Worldwide giving to the pope decreased in 2010, the statement said. Peter’s Pence collected $67.7 million, compared to $82.5 million in 2009. In addition, the contributions of dioceses amounted to about $27.4 million, compared to $31.5 million the previous year.
Contributions from other institutions, including the Vatican bank, added about $73 million to the pope’s funds, which are used to support works of charity and mission around the world.
In breaking down the 2010 figures, the Vatican statement said:
• The Holy See, which depends largely on investments for its annual income, had income of $355 million and expenses of $341 million. The number of Holy See employees in 2010 was 2,806, up slightly from 2009.
• Vatican City State had income of $370 million and expenses of nearly $340 million. The Vatican said a major factor in the surplus was a boom in visitors to the Vatican Museums, which occurred despite a general crisis in the tourism industry.
The Vatican also underlined that the Vatican City State not only pays 1,876 employees but also spends a considerable amount each year in maintenance and restoration of its artistic and architectural treasures, which it said can rightly be described as “one of the most important historical and artistic patrimonies of humanity.”