Vatican ran deficit in 2007: Holy See

The Holy See reports that the Vatican ran a deficit in 2007, hurt by the weak dollar affecting the value of generous collection baskets from U.S. faithful and by steep costs of running its media.

The Holy See reports that the Vatican ran a deficit in 2007, hurt by the weak dollar affecting the value of generous collection baskets from U.S. faithful and by steep costs of running its media.

The Vatican issued financial figures showing a nearly $13.5 million US deficit last year.

It cited the sharp drop in the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar.

The Vatican pays many of its expenses in euros, a currency that has soared against the U.S. dollar.

The financial report, released by the Holy See's press office, listed revenues of $371.97 million against expenses of $386.27 million.

The Vatican said its financial investments were hurt principally by the sharp and rather marked inversion in exchange rates, above all for the U.S. dollar.

The Vatican ran in the black over the three previous years.

Rents and other income from the Vatican's vast real estate holdings helped its finances, the report said.

The Vatican museums, which include the Sistine Chapel, a top tourist attraction, also helped the Holy See's finances. Some 4.3 million people visited the museums in 2007.

Financial disclosures ordered by John Paul II

However, the costs of running Vatican Radio and the Vatican newspaper figured in a $22.9 million deficit in its media division.

However, the Vatican Television Centre and the Vatican Publishing House posted surpluses.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II ordered annual financial disclosures as part of his efforts to debunk the idea that the Vatican is rich.

The Vatican's annual Peter's Pence collection worldwide found U.S. faithful the most generous in absolute terms of the amount donated, giving more than $18.7 million.

It also received $14.3 million from a donor who asked to remain anonymous, the Vatican said.

The Pope uses the fund for charitable purposes or to build churches in poor countries.

U.S. donors were second in terms of generosity, after Germans, in separate diocesan collections used to help the church worldwide.