By Richard Allen
Religion News Service
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican recorded a $5.2 million deficit for 2009 as investment in communication and building upgrades offset revenues from donations, according to new figures from the Holy See.
The third consecutive deficit was also attributed to a decline in the property market and the global stock market, where the Vatican has significant investment in bonds and shares.
The negative result--$314.7 million in revenue against $319.9 million in expenses--came despite an increase in donations from Catholics worldwide. The Peter's Pence offering, which is collected to support Vatican operations, rose 9 percent, to $82.5 million. Catholics in the U.S., Italy and France were listed as the most prominent donors, with South Korea and Japan also making significant contributions.
The statement said the bulk of the Holy See's costs were spent on Pope Benedict XVI's activities and security, its telecommunications system, restoring monuments and treasure troves and media projects such as Vatican Radio.
The Vatican, which first released financial statements in 1981 to improve transparency amid claims it was making huge profits, was $1.13 million in the red in 2008 and $11.4 million in the red in 2007.
A separate audit of the finances of the Vatican City state reported a $9.8 million loss in 2009, just more than half the deficit of the previous year.