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Vatican moving towards financial transparency

Summary:
Interesting bit of news from Vatican. Within Vatican, there is Office of Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic (APSA) which oversees the Vatican properties. ASPA was created in 1967 and has for the first time released its annual report! In 2020, profits were less than 51 million euros, while financial investments amounted to 1.778 billion euros; while contributions for the needs of the Roman Curia were halved from 41 to 20 million euros. Nonetheless, the figures were generally positive, considering the serious consequences of the pandemic. For the first time since it was established in 1967, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See – known from its Italian initials as “APSA” – has published its balance sheet. The document concerns the fiscal year of 2020.

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Interesting bit of news from Vatican. Within Vatican, there is Office of Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic (APSA) which oversees the Vatican properties. ASPA was created in 1967 and has for the first time released its annual report!

In 2020, profits were less than 51 million euros, while financial investments amounted to 1.778 billion euros; while contributions for the needs of the Roman Curia were halved from 41 to 20 million euros. Nonetheless, the figures were generally positive, considering the serious consequences of the pandemic.

For the first time since it was established in 1967, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See – known from its Italian initials as “APSA” – has published its balance sheet. The document concerns the fiscal year of 2020. APSA’s president, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, explains that the decision to publish the budget stems from the “hope” of increasing confidence in the work of the Church, as well as the desire to transform the Dicastery, which was established by Paul VI, from a “structure that mainly offers services on demand” to a “proactive reality” in the way it administers the heritage entrusted to it. 

In an interview with Vatican Media, Bishop Galantino notes that this is not the first time that APSA has drawn up its balance sheet. “It was already done in the past,” he explained, with budgets being presented to supervisory bodies for approval. However, this is the first time the records have been made public. “It is certainly a step forward in terms of transparency,” the bishop said.

The president also noted that the decision by Pope Francis, enacted with a Motu proprio dated 28 December 2020, to transfer the funds and properties of the Secretariat of State to APSA. Bishop Galantino pointed out that decision involved not only “a transfer of material and competencies,” but the building of “a new culture that is not only administrative, which must gradually permeate” the dicastery.

The report details the work of the APSA during the months marked by the health emergency. It also provides useful information to refute false narratives about the size and value in use of the Holy See’s assets. It explains, for example, that it is thanks to the rental of prestigious properties in Paris and London that it was possible to grant a free loan to the Office of Papal Charities to obtain an historic building such as Palazzo Migliori, where the homeless are housed through the efforts of the Sant’Egidio Community.

The report is here. There is more to the story here.

How finance moves around religion is such a fascinating history.

Amol Agrawal
I am currently pursuing my PhD in economics. I have work-ex of nearly 10 years with most of those years spent figuring economic research in Mumbai’s financial sector.

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