The vatican filthy rich?

I was talking to my dad yesterday (a southern Baptist) about charities for the typhoon in the Philippines. He was talking about how china at first only gave 100000. I made a comment on how even pope Francis and the Vatican gave more than that. Then he started talking about how the Vatican is “filthy rich”. I informed him that it’s not and that they even run deficits sometimes. I even mentioned that the money we give to collection is just for our parish (I heard that somewhere on here I believe) but he didn’t believe that and started to talk about how companies work and how money made by stores at least some of it goes to the parent company. Can anyone help me out with this? Do our collections go to Vatican and how does the Vatican get money? I read that they have stock investments. Is that true?

If I recall correctly, your money goes to the diocese. Since the Vatican is the Diocese of Rome, they get their money from those collections. Double-check me, I’m not positive.

There was some statistic, the Vatican’s total of fungible assets was about 1 billion $.

Easiest thing to do is ask him how he knows this and if he can give you any official documentation/evidence. If he refuses or cannot do it, he’s likely full of it.

Once a year, there is the “Peter’s Pence” collection that goes to the Vatican for the purpose of giving aid to the needy. For the most part, though, the collection goes to the parish with each parish paying an assessment to the local diocese. The vast majority stays within the parish, though.

I wish. :rolleyes:


It’s odd how some seem to have this perception that the Pope and the Cardinals in Rome are Scrooge-McDucking it into a gigantic pool of gold coins. :shrug:

I know!!

It is definitely one of those die-hard urban legends which seems to still pervade people’s minds even after given solid facts.

“There’s a splotch of green paint on your face.”

“No there isn’t! That’s a flat out lie! :mad:”

“No, seriously. I’m looking at you right now. There’s green paint.”

“Discrimination! I’m ashamed of you for being so cruel. You… you… accuser!!”

“Look, here’s a mirror.” grabs mirror and shows places it on the table “Look. Green paint.”

“You just aren’t getting it, are you? You are missing the whole point. I DO NOT have green paint on my face!! :mad::mad:”


Some Baptist Churches are pretty wealthy. First Baptist Woodstock in Woodstock, GA has a sixty million dollar auditorium.

Compare that to the budget of the Vatican city-state, which was $356 million in 2008.

I’ve been to Baptist and independent mega-Churches based on Baptist theology. Some of them have health spas, cafe’s, K-2 schools, catering businesses, car repair shops and professional quality sound and video production facilities. Some are truly impressive.


Certainly the Vatican museums are full of priceless artwork. The Vatican sacristies, and sacristies around the world, contain valuable sacred vessels and vestments and other objets-d’art. The catch is that none of it belongs to the hierarchy. If they were to sell it, it would become worthless. What is better, for sacred art to be housed publicly in a well-traveled museum for thousands of pilgrims to come and look at it, or for it to be snapped up by private collectors for a relative pittance, and hidden away in a private library where nobody but the collector’s friends can see it?

Churches belong to all of us. When they are constructed lavishly with the donations of parishioners, they give back to us for the long term. These churches are always open for us to come, admire the art, worship God in an appropriately decorated sacred space, and above all, share the experience with everyone, regardless of our ability to pay. That is the gift of the Church to the poor. And in return, those people who have the means and come to worship put money into the collection, over and over. So you see, attractive churches and sacred art are an asset that puts money into the coffers, not a liability.

As the question interested me, I thought I would see what I could find. The first search hit naturally was to unsubstantiated accusations, so I changed the search and came across this link which says that after years of being in the red, the Vatican managed to go into the black. The next find was the Vatican’s bank’s annual report!/IOR_AnnualReport_E.pdf.

The money belongs not only to the Vatican State, the Holy See but also to all those Religious Orders who are raising funds for the poor and need to collect it from all over the world and then get it changed into a local currency and available in some remote location. The Vatican also employs lay people so it has to pay staff wages and pensions.

The Vatican does own millions in artwork but considers itself custodians and apparently doesn’t charge non Catholics to see it. For some strange reason, some outsiders think that the Vatican personally owns the real estate of every Catholic church, school or hospital.

I wonder whether the OP’s Dad realises that Western politicians make many trips to the Vatican as guests, but do not welcome a return visit, or that when they do, the Vatican contributes to the visit. I was fed up at the whines in the press about the cost of the Pope’s visit to the UK especially as they glossed over the cost to the Vatican of visits by our members of Royalty and numerous politicians over many years, and the fact that us Catholics paid for all the non-state parts of his visit.

Funny how I could not find an account of the wealth held by other churches or faiths, however, in fairness to them, I probably didn’t know where to look. Also, the Catholic Church is unique in that the Vatican is not just the place where the Pope lives but is also a State in its own right, so it is not comparing like with like.

Maybe your Dad would be interested to know that in some parts of the world where Catholics are very much in the minority and some of the least wealthy, they give more to help others than many other churches or religions. I intend no disrespect to other churches or faiths, we all have people who are not blessed with the gift of giving and others who are blessed abundantly in giving of time, talents and where able, money.

Thanks for the question.

The Vatican is an independent nation and will have operating expenses.

2 Paralipomenon 3:

6 He paved also the floor of the temple with most precious marble, of great beauty.

7 And the gold of the plates with which he overlaid the house, and the beams thereof, and the posts, and the walls, and the doors, was of the finest: and he graved cherubims on the walls.

8 He made also the house of the holy of holies: the length of it, according to the breadth of the temple, twenty cubits, and the breadth of it in like manner twenty cubits; and he overlaid it with plates of gold, amounting to about six hundred talents.

9 He made also nails of gold, and the weight of every nail was fifty sicles: the upper chambers also he overlaid with gold.

10 He made also in the house of the holy of holies two cherubims of image-work: and he overlaid them with gold.

Why is it that we must hear over and over again these absurd accusations from protestants? They refuse to hear the Church and constantly refer to an incomplete canon in an attempt to justify worshiping God in a church of their own image and design.

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