Olli Dürr

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Cry for help from the Vatican – There is a risk of financial drying up



The Roman Catholic Church appears to be drying up financially. This impression is given by the significantly reduced church tax revenue and a “cry for help” from the Vatican. The Pope and his court are already forced to finance their needs by dipping into the full donation pot.

Church tax declining

The Roman Catholic Church recorded a significant decline in church tax revenue in Germany in 2023. Compared to 2022, church taxes fell by 330 million euros, or by 5 percent. This means that in 2023 the church “only” received 6.51 billion euros from its remaining church members (Source). This means that the regression is roughly on a par with the reduction in the number of Evangelical Churches in Germany (EKD). The reduction compared to the previous year was 5.3 percent to “only” around 5.9 billion euros in church tax revenue.

Apparatus needs money

Vatican brings more donations

The Roman Catholic Church maintains 27 dioceses in Germany, mostly financed by its flock. The Vatican in Rome, on the other hand, waives taxes, as the apparent freedom of movement is often emphasized. But which taxes should be able to be collected within the Vatican state and to what extent? The number of employees paid by the Vatican is manageable. In addition, “Vatican City” is a state recognized under international law. Collecting taxes in other countries would prove to be very problematic. A project called “indulgences in exchange for coins” is likely to have far fewer believers reaching for their wallets today than in the time of John Tetzel.

The Vatican’s main sources of income consist of rental income and profits from interest. Given the real estate empire held by the Vatican, the amounts are likely to be generous. Another source of money consists of voluntary donations, the so-called “Peterspfennig” (“Peters Penny”). This source of donations is now proving to be too meager, especially from Germany. It’s hard to believe that the Vatican is in a financial bottleneck because of this (Source). The situation is delicate.

The Pope and his “court” alone needed 90 million euros from the pot of voluntary donations. An additional 13 million euros were spent on aid projects. However, donations received worldwide in 2023 only amounted to 48.4 million euros. Taking interest income into account, the total income was 52 million euros. The resulting deficit of 51 million euros was therefore taken from the accumulated pot of Peterspfennig.

In 2023, only 2.7 percent of the donations made to the Vatican came from Germany. In 2021 the proportion was still 4.9 percent. The largest donor in 2023 was the USA with a share of 28.1 percent. Italy “surrounding” the Vatican came in at 6.4 percent.

“Background assets” of the Vatican

If anything is opaque, it is the assets of the “Vatican City” and the Holy See and Church departments. While the worrying news comes from the Vatican that the Pope and his court are apparently starving, the Holy See is casually allowing itself to be duped by a real estate deal in expensive London (Source).

The picture painted is that the Vatican is drying up financially due to a lack of sufficient donations. In 2001, the social scientist Carsten Frerk estimated the assets of the Roman Catholic churches in Germany alone at around 270 billion euros. To distinguish, it is the Roman Catholic Church, not the Holy See. These assets consist of real estate, real estate, investments and investments.

In the 1970s, the Church had over 1,100,000 hectares of farmland in the USA. How much this church values ​​its accumulated assets can be seen in its strategy in dealing with the uncovered cases of abuse in the USA. One after the other, the dioceses of Fairbanks, Iowa, Portland, San Diego, Spokane, Tucson, Wilmington and Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy. In this way, they evaded the claims for compensation for the victims of abuse.

Over 5,000 properties

Poverty London
Real estate assets also in London

The Vatican owns more than 5,000 church and investment properties worldwide, according to a Forbes list (Source). Of these, more than 4,000 are in Italy. Most of it is used or rented by church institutions. Outside Italy, the majority of the over 1,000 properties are located in London, Paris, Geneva and other cities. Around ten years ago, the Vatican invested more than $400 million in a London property.

In principle, it was obviously not a lack of money to ensure that the Pope and his court had a “dignified” existence without having to rely on donations and painful reaching into filled donation pots. The finances of this institution are neatly separated into assets of the Holy See, the Roman Catholic Church, the dioceses and the associated companies and organizations. But above all there is only one primate, the Pope. So the one who announces that his chambers are drying up financially.

With the known figures, this is probably just an excerpt of the whole. The city of Rome alone is largely owned by the Vatican.

Motu Proprio Francis

Francis caused unrest

The aspect of “affiliated organizations” seems particularly interesting here. Shortly after the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis caused a sensation with a “Motu Proprio” published on July 11, 2013. This concerned the jurisdiction of the judicial bodies of the Vatican City State in the field of criminal law. Ostensibly it was about the criminalization of acts against the Holy See, also committed outside of Vatican City. For this purpose, employees were treated equally to “public officials”.

This papal directive concerned:
3a) Members, officials and employees of the various bodies of the Roman Curia and its associated institutions“.
3c) Persons who hold representative, administrative or managerial functions, as well as those who – even ‘de facto’ – manage and control bodies directly dependent on the Holy See and who are registered in the register of ecclesiastical legal entities maintained by the Governorate of the State of Vatican City.

This letter took effect on September 1st, 2013. A whole series of “external” institutions appear to be attached to Vatican City.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Revelation 18:3

Bible verses from King James Version

Cry for help from the Vatican – There is a risk of financial drying up
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