Vatican Bank Reports Profits of €38 Million in 2019

Pope Francis gives a thumbs-up as he greets people at the end of an audience to the participants of a meeting organized by the "Food Bank" on October 3, 2015 at the Paul VI audience hall in Vatican. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via …
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty

ROME — The Vatican Bank issued its annual financial report Monday, revealing a net profit of 38 million euros (U.S.$43 million) for fiscal year 2019.

According to the report, the bank registered a net profit more than double that of the 17.5 million euros it reported in 2018.

The bank issued a press release on Monday, declaring 5.1 billion euros in assets of its 14,996 clients as well as 630.3 million euros in net equity after redistribution of profits. The year’s profit of 38 million euros was delivered over to Pope Francis, the report stated.

The Vatican bank’s 2019 financial statements were audited by Mazars, an independent international auditing firm.

The press release noted that the bank adheres to Catholic Social Teaching throughout its operations, which applies “to the management and investment policies of its own account and to those of its clients,” in an apparent effort to reassure clients and observers that the Vatican is trying to clean up its financial act.

In recent months, the Vatican has suffered a series of financial scandals, a number of which involved questionable investments.

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported last December that the Vatican’s Secretariat of State had invested upwards of a million dollars to finance the Rocketman film, a steamy biopic of singer-songwriter Elton John with a graphic scene of gay sex.

The Vatican invested some €6 million to become a 25-percent partner in Lapo Elkann’s eyewear and “lifestyle products” company, using money donated by the Catholic faithful through worldwide “Peter’s Pence” collections, as well as becoming a €10 million partner with industrialist Enrico Preziosi, the chairman of the Genoa soccer team, according to a report from Il Giornale.

In its report, Corriere della Sera stated Vatican capital makes up at least two-thirds of the funds managed by the Malta-based Centurion Global Fund, through which it has financed an assorted series of projects including real estate, mineral water, websites, and films.

Last November, the pope declared that all Church investments should support ethical enterprises. “If from Peter’s Pence you invest in a weapons factory, the pence is not a pence there, eh?” he said.

Francis said at the time that the Secretariat of State’s investment of some $225 million in a luxury London property development in Chelsea had caused a “scandal.”

“They have done things that do not seem clean,” he said.

Last Friday, Vatican police arrested Gianluigi Torzi, a lay Italian financier tied to the London deal. The Vatican’s Secretariat of State’s hired Mr. Torzi to replace the original Italian financier who brokered the deal, Raffaele Mincione, but now Torzi has been accused of attempted extortion by charging exorbitant fees, among other offenses.

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