Economic crisis hits Vatican too

Economic crisis hits Vatican too

ROME - Reuters
Economic crisis hits Vatican too

Pope Benedict XVI from his room at the Vatican blesses the faithful. EPA photo

The Roman Catholic Church lost 14.9 million euros last year as “the negative trend of global financial markets did not allow targets to be met,” the Church said, but donations from the faithful around the world were up.

The donations, known as Peter’s Pence, rose 3 percent to 69.7 billion euros in 2011. Donations from dioceses to support the central structure of the Church also rose, gaining 17 percent to $32.1 million.

The Vatican has posted annual losses in four out of the five past years - all but 2010.

The Vatican bank, which has been in turmoil since May 24 when its president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was dismissed by the board, handed 49 million euros over to the Vatican in 2011, the Church’s daily bulletin said.The statement did not say whether the loss was due to investments made by Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion.

The Vatican said it fired Gotti Tedeschi because he was an ineffective and divisive manager.

Both Gotti Tedeschi and Paolo Cipriani, director-general of the bank, are under investigation by Rome magistrates who in 2010 froze 23 million euros ($28.8 million) the Vatican bank held in two Italian banks.

The Vatican bank says it did nothing wrong and had been carrying out “normal operations” by transferring its own funds between its own accounts in Italy and Germany. The money was released in June 2011 but the investigation is continuing.

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