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July 06, 2021

Even the Vatican lost money last year

In times of economic turmoil, faith ought to be what endures, what heals us all.

But what’s a devout to do when, as some red-hot real estate markets cool and some national unemployment rates soar to new highs, the very beacon of western religion is losing money?

What do we mean? That would be the Vatican, which like many consumers and businesses had a rough 2011.

According to the Associated Press, the Vatican posted a deficit of $19 million last year.

Certainly, as anyone that’s given to a donation plate can attest, it would be a wonder that a church could come up short on its finances. But such is the case in the place the Pope calls home.

*Bing: How old is the Pope?

The AP notes the Vatican lost nearly $20 million last year, one of its worst annual budget deficits.

To be fair, the Vatican is no stranger to life in the red. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, the church ran deficits of $11.3 million, $1.1 million and $5 million, respectively, according to its annual filings.

But things seemed to be turning in 2010, when the church boasted a surplus of $12.2 million.

Vatican officials blamed the return to broke on high personnel and communications costs, as well as plummeting market value for its real estate holdings.

Not all parts of the church are hurting, though.

More than five million tourists visited the Sistine Chapel and other works in the Vatican museums last year, boosting the museums sector of the church to a surplus of about $27 million.

Nearly 3,000 personnel work in the Vatican, but layoffs aren’t in the cards, a high-ranking reverend said.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...