The Vatican closed out 2020 with a deficit of €66.3m, which was better than projected and even lower than pre-pandemic 2019, according to figures released on Saturday.
he Vatican’s economy minister, the Reverend Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, credited lower spending and a milder-than-expected drop in revenues for the results.
The shortfall was narrower than the range forecast by the Vatican, which was between €68m and €146m euros. It was also lower than the €79.2m deficit recorded in 2019.
Guerrero said the Vatican cut expenses in the face of the pandemic, focusing on essentials like salaries, aid to churches in difficulty and the poor.
To save money, the Vatican reduced travel and events spending by three-quarters, postponed maintenance and cut back on consultancy services, while Vatican diplomats tightened their belts.
Taxes remained a constant at €18.8m euros.
Revenues came in just 5pc lower than the pre-pandemic projection of €269m.
“We are waiting to see if this trend continues in 2021,’’ Rev Guerrero told Vatican media.
Donations rose slightly to €56.2m. Even so, Guerrero noted that the Peter’s Pence donations, offered during an annual collections at Mass, fell 18pc in 2020. They are billed as a concrete way to help the pope in his works of charity but are also used to run the Holy See bureaucracy. Many churches conducted virtual Masses in 2020 due to the pandemic.