Holy See shows small surplus for 2006

VATICAN CITY, JUL 6, 2007 (VIS) - Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, announced this morning in a press conference on the Holy See consolidated financial statements for 2006 that the year closed with a surplus of 2.4 million euro. This, he said, "represents a lower value following the results of 2005 (9.7 million euro) and of 2004 (3.08 million euro)."

In terms of the institutional activity of the Holy See (Secretariat of State, congregations, councils, tribunals, the Synod of Bishops and various other offices), the president indicated that this sector closed the year with a deficit of 31 million euro, a decrease with respect to 2005 which had closed with a deficit of 36.9 million euro.

Cardinal Sebastiani pointed out that the sector of financial activities (seven consolidated administrations, the most important of which is the Extraordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, APSA) showed a surplus of 13.7 million euro, as compared with last year's surplus of 43.4 million euro. This decrease of about 29 million euro, the cardinal explained, "is due above all to a sudden very strong reversal of trend in fluctuations of the rate of exchange, especially of the US dollar."

The real estate sector, he continued, "closed with a net gain of 32.3 million euro, higher than that of 2005 which stood at roughly 22.4 million. ... Total costs amounted to about 27 million euro, whereas revenues reached 59.3 million euro."

The activity of the five media institutions connected with the Holy See (Vatican Radio, the Vatican Printing Office, L'Osservatore Romano newspaper, the Vatican Publishing House and the Vatican Television Center), closed with a deficit of 12.8 million euro, "substantially due to the negative results of Vatican Radio (about 23.8 million euro) and of L'Osservatore Romano (4.4 million euro)," said Cardinal Sebastiani. Nonetheless, the Vatican Printing Office and the Vatican Television Center closed the year with a surplus of 1.3 million euro and 421,000 euro respectively. The Vatican Publishing House also closed its 2006 financial statement with a surplus of 1.3 million euro, and in this context the cardinal recalled how it has been entrusted with the exercise and the guardianship of the copyright of "all the documents by means of which the Supreme Pontiff exercises his teaching."

The final part of the economic report, concerning other income and expenditure, closed with a positive result of 184,000 euro, as against the seven million euro deficit of 2005 which had reflected the costs incurred during the period of vacant see in April 2005.

In closing, the president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See indicated that in the Vatican on July 2, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. had presided at the 41st meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See. On that occasion, said Cardinal Sebastiani, as well as the consolidated financial statement of the Holy See for 2006, the cardinals also examined that of the Governorate of Vatican City State, which closed with a surplus of 21.8 million euro, down on the 29.6 million euro of 2005.

Offers from the faithful to Peter's Pence, the fund which goes to the Holy Father's works of evangelical solidarity, grew considerably with respect to the preceding year, coming to 74.6 million euro in 2006, as against the 2005 total of 46.7 million.

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