VATICAN CITY (Monitoring Desk): The Vatican owns more than 5 thousand properties around the world, 4051 of which are located in Italy. Such data are presented in the report of the Administration of the Property of the Holy See (APSA), prepared as part of the financial statements of this department for 2020. This is the first time in the history of the Vatican that it has released data on its real estate portfolio, and the first time that APSA financial statements have been published.
Last Saturday, the Holy See Estate Agency, which is responsible for accounting, investment, purchasing and Vatican-owned real estate around the world, released its financial results for 2020. It publishes financial statements for the first time since its establishment in 1967. And the data on the property belonging to the Vatican was published for the first time in the entire history of the Catholic Church. According to the head of APSA, Archbishop Nunzio Galantino , behind the decision to release this information is “hope” to strengthen the credibility of the work of the Church.
As follows from the reports, the Vatican owns a total of more than 5 thousand real estate objects, not including the buildings of the representative offices of the Holy See. Of these, 4051 objects are located in Italy, mainly (92%) in Rome and the surrounding area.
The reports indicate that only 14% of properties in Italy are rented at market prices, the rest are rented with a 30-50% discount, and many are rented by church structures.
About 40% of the buildings owned by the Vatican in Italy are occupied by schools, monasteries and hospitals.
The remaining 1,120 objects are located in different countries, in capitals and large cities, including London, Paris, Geneva, Lausanne, often in expensive and prestigious areas. Among these objects is a building in London, which cost the Vatican more than $ 400 million, the purchase of which turned out to be connected with fraudulent activities. Just this coming week, a trial will begin in the Vatican , in which 10 people associated with this deal will appear, including the influential Cardinal Angelo Becciu. They are charged with fraud, abuse, money laundering, disclosure of classified documents, embezzlement, etc. As reported to Reuters The head of the Secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, the building in London will soon be sold, and the upcoming trial will be a “turning point” for restoring confidence in the Vatican in economic and financial matters.
As for the financial performance of APSA, as explained by the head of the Secretariat for Economic Affairs in an interview with Vatican News , “2020 was a difficult year”, we had to cut many items of expenditure, but the results “were better than we expected.”
So, taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic and all the problems associated with it, a budget deficit of € 82 million was predicted, but in the end it amounted to only € 66.3 million.
In 2019, the deficit was € 79.2 million. In order to save, the Vatican cut various activities by 75% and limited the budgets of diplomatic missions. Revenue in 2020, including income from donations, was € 248.4 million, down € 58.5 million from a year earlier.
The volume of financial investments last year exceeded € 1.7 billion. In addition, the Vatican paid € 5.95 million to the Italian treasury from the unified municipal tax and € 2.88 million from corporate income tax.