The Vatican’s “Midas touch”

The Catholic Church may be the only institution doing well during the economic crisis. According to an exclusive from The Tablet’s Rome correspondent Robert Mickens, the Vatican may finally have learned (after decades of deficits and fiscal mismanagment and even scandal) how to manage its affairs. Indeed, the Vatican seems to have developed a gift for prophecy that Wall Street could learn from.
The piece, “Church with a Midas Touch,” is based on a confidential report sent to the world’s bishops, who, together with donations from the faithful, support the Vatican. The Holy See actually has few resources of its own, unless one wants to sell of the Pieta. The report isn’t that transparent, and much as to be taken on faith. The Tablet piece is only available to subscribers, but here are a few (gold) nuggets:


–The Holy See’s total assets at the end of last year added up to nearly 1.4 billion euros or more than £1 billion. It reveals that the Vatican’s financial advisers shrewdly spotted the risks of keeping the Church’s money tied up in shares and switched to safer investments, including gold. The Holy See owns almost a ton of gold which in today’s volatile market would be worth some £15 million. (The math? Maybe $30 million?) That’s a decent sum, though hardly the endowment of a decent U.S. university.
–The Holy See’s most costly ventures are Vatican Radio, which in 2007 ran at a 24.3 million euro (£19.2m) deficit, and its newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which lost about
4.8m euros (£3.8m). Another interesting detail is that salaries, taxes and other expenses for some two dozen cardinals who work in the Roman Curia run to more than 3m euros
(£2.37m) a year.
–The report is for the Holy See, not the Vatican City State–the church’s 108-acre physical “plant” with a post office, fire department, museums and such–which actually makes a few million a year. Nor does it include any accounting for the somewhat infamous Istituto per le Opere Religiose (IOR)–the “Institute for religious Works, more commonly known as the Vatican Bank.
–The Holy See’s biggest expenses go toward paying its personnel. There are salaries, pensions and health-care costs for some 2,748 employees and 466 pensioners. The workforce is made up mostly of lay people (1,212 men and 425 women), followed by diocesan clergy (778) and members of religious orders (243 men and
90 women). They cost the Holy See upwards of 77m euros (£61m) in salaries and more than 100m euros (£79.2m) in pensions and other benefits.


Some will of course see this financial planning as the crass calculations of an institution that should give all to the poor. Others may see it as some welcome stewardship. Robert Mickens profitably cites the late archbishop and scandal-plagued former Vatican Banker, the Chicagoan Paul Marcinkus, who once said: “You can’t run the Church on Hail Marys.”

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posted September 26, 2008 at 2:58 pm

If you believe this money amount assertion about The Holy See and Vatican Bank having or getting, I have some crock infested swamp land, with no oil under it, to sell you.
In the USA alone, $8.1+ Billion Dollars (tax free) is collected ANNUALLY to support the American Roman Catholic Church’s massive real estate holdings, cemetaries, hospitals, schools, universities, seminaries, convents, investments, shrines, monestaries, trusts, teams/sports, publications, foundations, charities, missions, orders, etc.
Per USCCB insider (real sets of books) $8.1 Billion “represents approximately 43% of the global take of The Holy See”, with MASSIVE banking, and laundering, operations across the Tiber.
$1.4 Billion Euros is about one day’s take in wire transferring at the Holy See Bank (The Institute Of Works & Religion, or formerly Banco di Spiritus)…
Read David Yallop’s ‘In God’s Name’, as well as brilliantly and copiously collaborated and researched: ‘The Power & The Glory’.
Remember, the dog & pony show DC and NYC tour of Benedict XVI th was really about shoring-up deep pocket donors in the USA, and it FAILED.
As Brother Ockham once postulated: “Invariably, the simplest answer tends to be the correct one.”
The simple answer here is, if The Holy See is spinning they are UP in revenues, in point of FACT they are WAY DOWN (figuratively, literally and morally).

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Deanna Leonti

posted September 27, 2008 at 1:45 am

“The Catholic Church may be the only institution doing well during the economic crisis”.
“Bishop Edward Braxton says the Diocese of Belleville will appeal the lower court ruling in a sex abuse case.
Late last month a St. Clair County jury found the diocese had concealed sex abuse allegations against the Reverend Raymond Kownacki and moved him from parish to parish. The jury ordered the diocese to pay the victim five million dollars.

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Deanna Leonti

posted September 27, 2008 at 2:05 am

isn’t Albino Luciani a deceased Pope?

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Dr. Jonathan Levy

posted September 27, 2008 at 6:15 pm

The Vatican Bank (IOR) is a unique depository institution which accepts all manner of deposits including Nazi gold – , stolen insurance company assets (Martin Frankel), and other oddiments for “pietical purposes.”
I am not sure I would trust the Vatican’s accounts – Sindona and Calvi ended up badly that’s for sure, though Marcinkus was pensioned off to Sun City, Arizona.

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Shakiba Ahani

posted October 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm

My friend and I was taking about Catholic Church and the question about how much donation is collected annually by Vatican. My friend who is Catholic had no idea and that motivated me to search for the number. I spent a long time on internet and found nothing. There are finanical reports on individual Catholic Church but not much that I could find on Vatican. There is one report by that talks about 2003 report of 213.2 million Euros. I don’t even know if this is a trustworthy website. Any way I would appreciate if you could help me.
Thank you, Shakiba

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posted February 28, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Interesting how people conveniently forget the amount spent by the Catholics on charity at home and all around the world.

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posted September 27, 2011 at 6:26 am

It’s really weird that people are forgetting about charity….

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posted October 21, 2011 at 5:48 am

Charity must be encouraged somehow! People are spoiled, nobody cares about others who are in need.

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posted October 27, 2011 at 8:23 am

Very interesting post! I completely agree, people should treat each other with care, otherwise what’s the point in living?

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posted November 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

Very good and inspiring article! Thanks for posting!

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posted November 11, 2011 at 6:12 am

Its a nice post but i think its nessesary for peacefull life!

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posted January 17, 2012 at 7:56 am

Unfortunately, but it is actually so, that is why I personally don’t support the church and always make difference between faith that is in your attitude, your values, deep in your soul, and religion, the church that is just an institution that gets rich due to people’s faith.

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