Thursday’s statement showed that such funds totaled about 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), the first time the Vatican has quantified the unreported funds discovered after Cardinal George Pell took up the newly created post of economy minister.
Pell was appointed by Pope Francis in an attempt to wrest Vatican finances out of the hands of Italian bureaucrats, in December a year ago he wrote in the Catholic Herald newspaper that the finances were in not as bad shape as had been previously imagined. Vatican officials have said that no layoffs are planned. Apart from the pension fund… the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments.
Cardinal Pell, brought in from Australia to oversee reforms to bring the Vatican in line with global banking standards, and the Vatican made clear that there had been no wrongdoing or “illegal, illicit or badly administered funds” but that the separate departments had been allowed to manage their own finances as they saw fit. “The 2015 budgets and the 2015 statements are the first important steps”.
Meanwhile, the Holy See reported a 5 percent increase in its deficit to 25.6 million euros, up from 24.5 million euros reported a year earlier, as the Holy See transitioned to global accounting standards.
Last year, the Vatican adopted global Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and each department’s financial statements are now reviewed by am global auditing firm.
In fact, the profits coming from the Vatican Museums, “cultural activities” and investments offset the deficit in the consolidated budgets of the Roman Curia and Vatican communications outlets to help the Vatican end the year 37.9 million euros ($41.3 million) in the black.
The financial statement was presented at the Council for the Economy meeting earlier this week by Cardinal Pell and the staff from the Secretariat for the Economy.
The biggest cost was the payroll for 2,880 people, amounting to €126.6 million. This made direct comparison with 2013 figures hard.
The summarized statement released by the Vatican press office July 16 offered much of the same kind of information included in past statements released each year, as the transition to the new procedures is still a “step-by-step” work in progress, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters.
The report showed a strong improvement in revenues for the Vatican, which was attributed to “favorable movements in investments held by the Holy See”.