Vatican budgets for 2013 show surplus of 8.5 million euros

Vatican City — The Vatican's final budget figures for 2013 showed a deficit on the part of the Roman Curia, but a strong performance by entities falling under the separate Vatican City State budget covered the deficit and helped the Vatican end the year 8.5 million euros ($11.6 million) in the black.

The Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Vatican's budget management office, presented the consolidated budgets for the Holy See and for Vatican City State to members of the new Council for the Economy on Saturday, and a summary was released by the Vatican press office Tuesday.

The budget of the Holy See, which includes the offices of the Roman Curia and the Vatican communications outlets, ended 2013 with a deficit of more than 24.4 million euros. More than half the figure -- 14 million euros -- was attributed to a steep drop in the value of the Vatican's investments in gold.

In 2013, the average price of gold fell more than 29 percent from its average value in 2012.

The Holy See deficit presumably also includes costs associated with the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI in February 2013 and the conclave, election and inauguration of the ministry of Pope Francis.

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In 2005, the Vatican had estimated that the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the conclave, election and inauguration of the papacy of Pope Benedict cost about $8.9 million. That figure included the traditional extra pay given to Vatican employees on the occasion of a pope's death and again after the election of a new pope. It also reflected the extra security needed for Pope John Paul's funeral, employee overtime and temporary modifications of the Sistine Chapel for the conclave.

The College of Cardinals, which sets a budget and approves expenditures for a papal transition, opted not to give Vatican employees the two traditional bonuses in 2013.

Still, as always, the largest single item in the Holy See budget was "personnel." With 2,886 employees, the total personnel cost was 125 million euros.

The Vatican City State budget, which includes the income-generating Vatican Museums and Vatican stamp and coin office, ended 2013 with a profit of more than 33 million euros, the statement said. The figure is an increase of 10 million euros over its 2012 surplus.

Vatican operations are supported, in part, by contributions from dioceses around the world. In 2013, the Vatican said, they gave 22.4 million euros, an increase of about 88,000 euros from 2012.

In addition, the Vatican bank, which donates profits from its investments to the pope to support works of charity and mission around the world, contributed 50 million euros. Another 4 million euros from the bank was given to foundations supporting cloistered monasteries, church projects in the Amazon region and church life in the countries of the former Soviet Union, the statement said.

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