Vatican reveals property holdings for first time in transparency drive

The Vatican released information on its real estate holdings on Saturday, revealing it owns more than 5,000 properties.

2021-07-25 12:30:00 AM

The Vatican released information on its real estate holdings on Saturday, revealing it owns more than 5,000 properties.

The Vatican released information on its real estate holdings on Saturday, revealing it owns more than 5,000 properties.

The 30-page APSA budget showed that it owns 4,051 properties in Italy and about 1,120 abroad, not including its embassies around the world.Only about 14% of its Italian properties were rented at market rates, while the others were rented at cut rates, many to Church employees. About 40% were institutional buildings such as schools, convents and hospitals.

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The documentation showed that APSA owns properties as investments in up scale areas of London, Geneva, Lausanne and Paris.'TURNING POINT'One building, in London's smart South Kensington district,led to enormous losses after it was purchased by the Vatican's Secretariat of State as an investment in 2014.

On Tuesday, the trial of 10 people in connection with its purchase, including a prominent cardinal, starts in the Vatican.They are charged with financial crimes including embezzlement,money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office.Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, head of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy (SPE), told the official Vatican News website that the building would be sold soon. headtopics.com

He said the trial would be a"turning point" in the Vatican's credibility in economic matters and that a similar event could not be repeated because of measures put into place since.Last year, Pope Francis stripped the Secretariat of State of control over its funds, transferring them to APSA and with oversight by the SPE.

A separate consolidated financial statement for the Holy See issued on Saturday showed a 64.8 million euro deficit in 2020,down from a 79.2 million deficit in 2019.The Holy See budget includes the central administration of the Roman Catholic Church, known as the Curia, that oversees the governing of the 1.3 billion-member worldwide Church, its global diplomatic representations and media operations.

Vatican City, including the Vatican Museums and the Vatican bank, has a separate budget.To plug the 2020 deficit, about 50 million euros were taken from Peter's Pence, a fund of donations to help the pope carry out the Church's worldwide work.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit Vatican revenues hard in 2020.St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, the latter a cash cow that received about 6 million paying visitors in 2019,were closed or only partially open for much of 2020. Read more: IOL News »

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