“Net Assets,” the statement reads, “increased by 939 M Euro as adjustments were made to include all assets and liabilities in the closing balances for 2014. For the entities included in the consolidation perimeter, assets previously off the Balance sheet amounted to 1,114 M Euro and liabilities amounted to 222 M Euro.” This is the fruit of a screening which made it possible for funds and activities that were previously only recorded within individual dicasteries and offices, to be included in the balance sheet. Cardinal Pell had spoken about these sums of money in an interview with the Catholic Herald last December.
The Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi had made the following clarification: “It should be noted that Cardinal Pell did not speak of illegal or mismanaged funds, but of funds that were not in the official accounts of the Holy See and Vatican City State, and of the existence of which the Secretariat for the Economy learned in the course of the ongoing process of study and review of the Vatican administrations, in order to achieve a more adequate [and] comprehensive understanding of [matters] with a view to the streamlining of operations.”
The statement published by the Secretariat for the Economy adds that “while the patrimonial situation in the Pension Fund was not reflected in the closing Balance Sheet, it was reported that the new Pension Fund Board will be asked to prepare an updated assessment of the overall situation”.
As in previous years, the most significant expense recorded in the Holy See Financial Statements is the cost of staff (which amounts to 126.6 M Euro). The statements indicate total staffing of 2880 in the 64 Holy See entities included in the consolidation.
The Governorate’s Financial Statements for 2014 indicate a positive “surplus of 63.519 M Euro which is a significant improvement on the 2013 surplus of 33.042 M Euro, largely due to continued strong revenue from the cultural activities (especially the Museums) and favourable movements in investments. Net Assets increased by 63.5 M Euro and there were no adjustments necessary to include additional assets and liabilities in closing balances for 2014. The Statements indicate a total staffing in the Governorate of 1930.”
The Council also received an update on the 2015 Budget. “The 2015 Budgets were prepared under the new Financial Management Policies, approved last year by the Holy Father” and “the deficits experienced in recent years are likely to continue in 2015”.
Presenting the statement, the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Lombardi said: “I think that in the future the Financial Statements published will be more detailed, as can be deduced from the reference to the 136 entities included in the Budget submission for 2015. This is the result of a laborious transition which those responsible are still working on. The final goal is one thing, the intermediate steps taken are another.”
In an interview with Italian financial newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, Cardinal Pell commented on the statement saying: “The work being done to change Vatican finances and move toward transparency and the adoption of international standards is irreversible; there are still some pockets of resistance but the vast majority of people working in this field are in agreement.” The Australian cardinal revealed that the extra 939 M Euro were found in the accounts of “ten or so” entities. He also confirmed that the Holy See’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs will be gone soon.