Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, announced this morning in a press conference on the Holy See consolidated financial statements for 2005 that the year closed with a surplus of 9.7 million euro. This, he said, "represents the most significant value of the last eight years." The year 2004 had closed with a surplus of 3.08 million euro.
In terms of the institutional activity of the Holy See (Secretariat of State, congregations, councils, tribunals, the Synod of Bishops and various other offices), the president indicated that the sector closed the year with a deficit of 36.9 million euro, an increase with respect to 2004 which had closed with a deficit of 23.2 million euro.
Cardinal Sebastiani pointed out that the sector of financial activities (7 consolidated administrations, the most important of which is the Extraordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, APSA) showed a surplus of 43.3 million euro, an improvement on last year's surplus of 6.1 million euro. This is due, the cardinal explained, "to the improvement of the situation of the financial markets which occurred in the course of 2005. Indeed, a net positive fluctuation of 21.7 million euro was registered in 2005 while a net loss of roughly 11 million euro occurred in 2004 due to fluctuations in the rates of exchange." For its part, the real estate sector closed with a surplus of 22.2 million euro, slightly down on last year's closing figure of 24.9 million euro.
The activity of the media institutions connected with the Holy See (Vatican Radio, the Vatican Printing Office, L'Osservatore Romano newspaper, the Vatican Publishing House and the Vatican Television Center), closed with a deficit of 11.8 million euro, "substantially due to the negative results of Vatican Radio (about 23.5 million euro) and of L'Osservatore Romano (4.6 million euro)," said Cardinal Sebastiani. Nonetheless, "the Vatican Printing Office closed its financial statement with a surplus of 653,000 euro, and the Vatican Television Center closed with a profit of 650,000 euro. ... The Vatican Publishing House also closed its 2005 financial statement with a surplus of 934,000 euro and with a rise of 3.8 million euro in the volume of the activity." In this context, the cardinal recalled how the Vatican Publishing House has been entrusted with the exercise and the guardianship of the copyright of "all the documents by means of which the Supreme Pontiff exercises his teaching."
The final part of the economic report, concerning other income and expense, closed with a negative result of seven million euro, reflecting the costs incurred during the period of vacant see in April 2005.
In closing, the president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See indicated that in the Vatican on July 4, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano had presided at the 40th meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See. On that occasion, said Cardinal Sebastiani, as well as the consolidated financial statement of the Holy See for 2005, the cardinals also examined that of the Governorate of Vatican City State, which closed with a surplus of 29.6 million euro.
Offers from the faithful to Peter's Pence, the fund which goes to the Holy Father's works of evangelical solidarity, came to 46,741,000 euro in the year 2005, an increase of 14.95 percent with respect to 2004.