The Vatican is facing a financial crisis thanks to “persistent inefficiencies and hits to investment income”, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to “senior Vatican officials”, the Holy See’s budget deficit has doubled since 2017 to about £60m ($75m). Its income is around £240m ($300m).
Why was it under-reported?
The article was behind the Wall Street Journal’s paywall, meaning that only subscribers got the full story. But other news organisations also seemed uninterested in what appears to be a major development.
According to the newspaper, Pope Francis wrote to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the Vatican’s financial oversight body, asking him “to study all measures deemed necessary to safeguard the economic future of the Holy See”.
Perhaps the story was simply too religious, too financial, or both.
What will happen next?
There may be alarm among the Vatican’s 3,000 employees, whose salaries amount to about 45 per cent of the budget. The Wall Street Journal names other possible causes: “wasteful procurement and a costly car fleet push up costs, while real-estate holdings around Rome are sometimes not maintained and rents not collected”.
But Vatican finances have long suffered from a lack of transparency. A meeting of department heads, at which immediate and radical changes will be discussed, is planned for next week.
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