This is an answer from 2002. It seems very comprehensive.
". . . this is a very difficult question to answer. The finances of the Vatican are very complex, come from different sources, and are dedicated to different missions, in different countries. And indeed, its transnational structure makes it even difficult to assess the Vatican's finances.
But not a man as Prof. Thomas J. Reese, an American Vatican expert from Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown
University, would shun from the task. In his book, "Inside the Vatican" (Harvard UniversityPress, 1996 <www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0674932...
- highly recommended if you're interested in Church history and
politics), he examines the finances of the Vatican (For the Chapter on Vatican finances see pp. 202-229).
The first thing you may want to know is that the Holy See ran a
deficit from 1970 until 1993. Reese examines first the IOR (Instituto per le Opere di Religione), known better as "the Vatican Bank". The IOR was founded in 1887 to help the Pope manage his finances after the fall of the Papal States. In 1994, for the first time in its history, the bank was audited by an outside element - Price Waterhouse (today PriceWaterhouseCoopers -http://www.pwcglobal.com/). In that year, the bank had deposits of $40 billion, and annual profits of $4 million. Reese notes, after an interview with the head of the bank, that "it is unclear how much working capital the bank has beyond its deposits", and that some estimated it as high as $1 billion, before 1984 payments
to creditors of a collapsing Italian Bank (a scandal known as "Banco Amrosiano" Scandal). The budget of the Vatican City itself is $130 million annually.
In 1994, the audit listed:
- 1,483 billion lire in assets [About $848 million]: -
- 732 billion lire [about $419 million] in liabilities (in the
'Consolidated Financial Statements of the Holy See' (410 billion in
cash, 479 billion in stocks and bonds, 29 billion in gold, and 470
billion in fixed assets - investments and real-estate) . 269 billion
lire are in deposits and accounts of Vatican entities, 96 billion for
employees' severance indemnities and 262 billion at the value of
pensions to present employees;
- 750 billion are in net assets [$430 million].
These figures are without the bank and the Vatican City, each of them was mentioned earlier, and Reese estimates that it would add up to $500 million to $1 billion. However, deducting the Vatican City's budget and the $270 million reported as "fixed assets", the sum is lower than $1 billion, maybe even less than quarter billion dollars.
Although Reese's information is only an estimation, it is probably the closer you'll get, with the complex structure of the Vatican and the Church. You can find other estimations online, including from this site <>,http://www.vaticanbankclaims.com>, which tries to assert retributions from the Vatican bank on property looted by the Nazis. they claim the bank has manages £2bn (British Pounds) of assets, and that The Vatican had a balance of 2.5bn lira in 1998, then worth about £1m. <>http://www.vaticanbankclaims.com/worldly.htm>
In an interview published in Money Week, Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, the Vatican's "finance minister", claims that The Vatican's assets are $5 billion. he adds that " Income to the Holy See from bishops' dioceses has more than tripled from 1990 levels, to $22 million in 2000." he also says, "That [$5 billion] doesn't include the Vatican City, which has a separate financial statement. If property is used for Church purposes and could never be sold, the value of it is considered 1lire, or nearly zero." The City's assets are "The revenues in 2000 were $180 million. The net surplus was $22 million, but that fluctuates greatly since we're responsible for the maintenance of all buildings, and it's extremely costly. One year we have a profit of $1 million and the next year $10 million. We put the surplus in a reserve, so we have it when the next work is needed" (Szoka refuses to refer directly to the Vatican Bank's assets). <source:>"http://www.wrns.org/parse.php?idd=4537>"
· 1 decade ago