What if the Vatican actually goes broke?

What if Vatican Goes Broke

Title: What if the Vatican actually goes broke?

Author: Ed Condon

Publisher: The Pillar Catholic

Date: 16FEB2024

The Holy See is, by its own accounting, in serious financial straits.

While some curial asset managers have begun to show modest-to-moderate returns in recent years, donations remain down and the Vatican is still operating with a runaway budget deficit.

So how bad is the financial weather over Rome and what, if anything, is being done to turn things around?

And what happens if the Vatican actually goes broke — is that even possible?

According to some people who’ve spent years working in Vatican finances, those are questions that need to start being asked, sooner rather than later.

How bad is it?

The factors weighing on the Vatican’s finances are well known to most observers.

Years of financial scandals and diminished global offerings have left the Holy See struggling to balance its books for many years.

Added to this have been acute shocks to its financial system, most notably the coronavirus pandemic, which essentially shuttered Vatican City to visitors for a year, choking off revenue from museums and shops, to say nothing of votive offerings in major churches like St. Peter’s Basilica.

In May 2020, the Secretariat for the Economy predicted a 2021 drop in Vatican income of anywhere between 30% and 80% because of the pandemic, even after a 21% drop in 2020.

Less than a year later, the secretariat announced a 49.7 million euro shortfall for the Vatican’s annual budget for 2021 — the lowest possible revenue drop (30%) within it’s prediction band. But the deficit was actually closer to 80 million, the secretariat’s statement noted, once money from Peter’s Pence and other restricted funds was factored out.

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