The Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy published its consolidated financials for 2015 on March 4, 2017, eight months behind schedule. The Holy See reported a deficit of 12.4 million euros in 2015, half of what was recorded in 2013 and 2014.
Among the entries is a sum of 50 million euros from the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Vatican’s private bank. The Holy See also reported income of 24 million euros from the contributions of dioceses, but also from unspecified “investments.”
As in previous years, the most significant expenditures are costs related to staff, without any indication of the exact number of employees.
The Governatorato of Vatican State shows a surplus of 59.9 million euros in 2015, in total approximately the same as in the previous year. This result is chiefly due to the income brought in by the Vatican Museums and other cultural activities.
In a press release quoted on the Vatican website on March 4, 2017, the Secretariat for the Economy emphasizes that this statement is “the first step towards full conformity with the Vatican Financial Management Policies (VFMP), approved by Pope Francis on 24 October 2014. These policies are intended, according to the press release, to “improve the quality and transparency of financial information” and to “increase discipline in financial reports and audits.”
However, observers have not reached a consensus on this report. On March 6, the news site cath.ch quotes Vaticanist David Jansen, for whom the Vatican is still “a very exotic political structure”: no income tax, or goods and services tax, or ecclesiastical tax. “The Holy See’s chief source of income is its financial heritage, but the 2015 statements do not spell out how much that is.” The journalist points out that “no official number on the total value of this fortune has ever been communicated up to now.” In 2015, the Vatican only indicated that the heritage of the Holy See had increased by 939 million euros, but without providing a total value. Specialists estimate this fortune of the Vatican at 12 billion euros, but they cannot provide any verifiable numbers.
Sources: cath.ch – news.va – DICI no. 351, 17/03/17