The head of the Vatican’s sovereign asset management body has insisted that the Holy See is not headed for financial “collapse”. Source: CNA.
Bishop Nunzio Galantino made the comments in response to a book published on Monday by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, which claims that the Holy See is facing a serious cash shortage and may soon be unable to meet its ordinary operating expenses.
“There is no threat of collapse or default here. There is only the need for a spending review. And that is what we’re doing. I can prove it to you with numbers,” Bishop Galantino said yesterday.
Bishop Galantino is head of the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which oversees the Vatican’s real estate holdings and other sovereign assets.
“The current situation of the administration of the Holy See is no different from what happens in any family or even in the nations of the different continents. At a certain point one looks at what one spends, considers the revenue that comes in, and tries to adjust expenses accordingly.”
Nuzzi’s book, Universal Judgment, claims to be based on some 3,000 pages of confidential documents leaked to him. He reports that annual donations to the Holy See have fallen sharply, by as much as 40 per cent over the last three years – from 100 million euros to 60m euros ($162m to $90m).
At the same time, he said, the Holy See’s property portfolio failed to register a profit last year, the first time ever. The cumulative effect, Nuzzi claims, is an urgent liquidity crisis in the Vatican’s operating finances.
Speaking in response to the book’s publication, Bishop Galatino said that no such crisis exists.
“In fact,” he said, “the ordinary management of the APSA in 2018 closed with a profit of over 22 million euros.”
Bishop Galatino said that any reported loss was due to “an extraordinary intervention aimed at saving the operation of a Catholic hospital and the jobs of its employees.”
Nuzzi also claimed that cardinals and high-ranking Vatican officials were operating secret or numbered personal accounts through APSA. A review of the book in the Italian newspaper La Republica quotes Vatican financial investigators as concluding that “the false bottom in Vatican finances is practically non-eliminable.”
“I confirm and repeat: APSA has no secret or encrypted accounts. Anyone is welcome to prove the contrary. At APSA, there are also no accounts of physical or juridical persons, except for the dicasteries of the Holy See, related institutions, and the Governorate.”