Vatican discovers millions of euros ‘tucked away’ in departmental accounts

The Vatican is in better financial shape than previously thought.

In an article for Britain’s Catholic Herald, to be published on Friday in its new magazine format, Australian cardinal George Pell wrote that the discovery meant overall Vatican finances were in better shape than previously believed.

“In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet,” he wrote.

“It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke … the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments,” Pell said, according to an advance text made available on Thursday.

Looks like it was a good move to create the Secretariate for the Economy of the Holy See. Giving one Cardinal oversight over all finances is far more efficient than the disjointed mess that appears to have been in place previously.

If hundreds of millions of Euros were not appearing on the balance sheet (and completely unknown to the Holy Father and his closest advisers), who was determining how this money was spent? Individual department heads? If this had been discovered in any other institution there would be an outcry.

Now if only I could discover millions of dollars tucked away in my pocket somewhere… :wink:

Hey, you might have won the lottery and not know it. Seems like a common thing for states to be holding all that unclaimed money.

That said, I know a lot about various accounting tricks used by organizations and the state of Illinois, especially when they’re looking for ways to spend, but not much given what the article states.

Not the best light in which to view the Church, IMHO…

It is quite funny actually. My atheist friend sent me this article and tried to use it against the Church. I was like this is actually a good discovery. They can begin to set their finances strait.

To be honest, I think it’s a fine light. I much prefer the Church to have a good handle on it’s finances.

I agree they should have a better handle on their finances. What makes me squirm is how much they have! :rolleyes: Lot more than Joel Ostein or any of those prosperity gospel guys. Makes me want to crawl under a log. Not asking anyone else to feel the same…but I am lying if say differently as far as I am concerned…

I’ve always had difficulty with the whole wealth of the Church thing also. It’s too far removed from the Jesus that I know. I think when Cardinal Pell has made that side of things as transparent as they should be, it’ll at least be less offensive than the secrecy that has grown up around it.

Yes, I think Pope Francis actually squirms over this a little bit too…it’s hard not to.

I actually listened to a priest talk about this. He said that all the art and big cathedrals and gold cups has to do with what Beauty does to ones soul and how it moves it because the art and beautiful churches and orthodoxy are human expressions of the awe and beauty of God kingdom. But any way the Church has been in net loss for several years so the fact that they discovered millions hidden here and there shows that they need to work on keeping track of their money. Regardless of it is the “Jesus you know” it is irresponsible to mishandle that amount of money, especially that can be used for good.

I am on board with the Church protecting beauty and truth in the world, even having a strong financial presence in the world. But we have to be so careful with this. We are an easy target for secularists, Protestants, etc. Plays to one of the worst stereotypes of us.

It’s pretty unavoidable that the theologically uneducated will make polemical claims about our Church out of ignorance and spite. Their opinions do not worry me. What worries me is that the Church use the money properly and justly. Regardless of outside opinion it is the true intentent and pure motive in accordance with Gods will that will keep pure. Especially with Pope Francis and his great care for the weak, sick and poor.

The Jesus we know commended a widow who gave a substantial portion of her income to the Temple. (the Church if their day)

And when the rich man donated a huge sum, did Christ criticize the Temple elders for accepting it, or did he criticize the rich man for not giving enough of his wealth?

The Jews were commanded ( by Christ) to give 10% of everything to the Church, if modern Catholics did the same, the Church would have a FAR greater income than it does now.

The point is not how much money the Church takes it, it is almost certainly far less than God would like, but how well it puts those riches to use.

And I think it does a fantastic job overall, far better than most secular charities that I know.

Good point! I am always amazed when it is explained to me (unfortunately over and over) how much Catholic charities do and achieve in the world - that is true and absolutely wonderful. Kind of counterbalances this little hiccup I guess.

if I had my druthers, everyone would freely give 10% of their income to the Church, from the wealthiest mogul, to the smallest child in the poorest village in Africa.

From the tithes of the wealthy, great works would flow, from the tithes of the poor (like the poor widow Christ mentioned) great Graces would flow. And with both, the world would be a much better place.

I’ve made a career of volunteering in different Catholic charitable institutions so I know how much good work we do as a Church. My comments are more an expression of my personal discomfort and difficulty defending that aspect against criticisms. Generally I don’t try to defend it but rather acknowledge that the business machine of the Church has to constantly be wary of the pitfalls of any large organisational arm that deals with finances.

Mine is a personal discomfort with the ‘trappings’ of life when there is suffering in the world. I remember reading the story of Simone Weil the French philosopher and mystic and how she could not enjoy a hearty meal because of the vivid image of the starving that the luxury brought to her. She was said to eventually die from effects of undernourishment because she couldn’t bring herself to eat in the midst of her images of these sufferings. I’m not that obsessed about things but I don’t like spending money on unnecessary luxuries or buy expensive unnecessary clothes etc. because of a similar discomfort. I do understand that beauty inspires many peoples faith. I’ve just never found those things (material) do that much for me.

Hundreds of millions suddenly found tucked away isn’t just a “Oh look what we forgot”. It seems something extremely untoward was going on.

The Pope is leading a wonderful financial reform of the Vatican.

But isn’t it typical, especially with non-profit organizations, to tend to understate the value of their assets? I would hate that contributions such as Peter’s Pence become less because they now feel the Vatican is in good shape financially. OTOH, more assets means more collateral in case you need to borrow (read, better credit rating), so there’s that incentive to find every asset you have.

We could take the money and field another Crusade to stop ISIS. Everyone know the Southern American Protastents would actually have something positive to say if that happened. ;). I only kid, that would be quite a terrible idea in reality.

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