Page last updated at 10:32 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 11:32 UK

Weak US dollar hits papal profits

Pope Bendict XVI
The Vatican received almost $80m worth of offerings in 2007

The Vatican made a loss last year as the weaker dollar reduced the value of donations from the faithful in the United States.

Almost a quarter of the $79.8m (40.4m) worth of offerings it received came from collections made in US churches.

But as the dollar lost 15% of its value against the euro, the Catholic Church's governing body made a loss of 9.1m euros (7.3m: $14.3m) in 2007.

That was despite receiving a single anonymous donation of $14.3m.

CHURCH OFFERINGS TO VATICAN
United States: $18.7m
Italy: $8.6m
Germany $4m
Spain: $2.7m
France: $2.4m
Ireland: $2.2m
Brazil: $1.4m
South Korea: $1.1m
Source: Vatican

In a statement it said that it had been affected "primarily to the sudden and noticeable inversion of the previous trends in exchange rates, most noticeably the US dollar".

Its latest accounts show that the Vatican made 236.7m euros in 2007 compared with outgoings of 245.8m euros.

After the US, the largest offerings - which it quotes in dollars - came from Italy, where churchgoers gave $8.6m directly to the Vatican last year and Germany, where the faithful gave $4m.

Vatican TV

The Vatican also generated revenue from a number of other sources last year, including the 4.3 million visitors to its museums, including the Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican Television Centre, which broadcasts the Pope's regular audiences in St Peter's Square and reports on his visits abroad, made a profit of almost 500,000 euros, while the Vatican Publishing House ended the year with a surplus of 1.6m euros.

But Vatican Radio and the Vatican newspaper together made a loss of 14.6m euros.

The Vatican first revealed its accounts in 1981 under Pope John Paul II to challenge the prevailing idea that it was rich.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Vatican
08 Jul 08 |  Country profiles

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