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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Pope's death cost Holy See $9m
Pope Benedict XVI speaking to the crowd gathered in St Peter's Square, Vatican
The papal transition took a month and cost 7m euros
The funeral of Pope John Paul II and election of his successor Pope Benedict XVI cost the Vatican 7m euros ($9m) last year, according to new figures.

But the Vatican still made a profit of 9.7m euros ($12.4m) in 2005 - its best budgetary performance for eight years.

Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, head of the office for economic affairs, hailed the financial results as "good news".

The costs of the papal transition were partly offset by the huge influx of pilgrims to the museums in that period.

Pope John Paul died in April 2005 at the age of 84. Millions gathered in Rome to pay their respects to the late pope and follow the conclave that led to the election of his successor.

Media losses

The costs to the Vatican of the month-long transition - much of which was spent on extra payments to staff while the papacy was vacant - were listed in the figures under "other income and expenses".

"There were costs, but also revenues in that period," Cardinal Sebastiani said, pointing to the sale of publications and the increased visitor numbers to Vatican museums.

The Holy See's budget must cover central administration, salaries for clerical and lay staff, its diplomatic representations across the world as well as its media.

Its income comes from donations given by the Catholic faithful as well as stocks, bonds, real estate and other investments.

Favourable returns on the international currency markets helped boost the Vatican's fortunes last year, Cardinal Sebastiani said.

In 2004, the Vatican made a profit of 3m euros after four years in the red.

The Vatican's main media outlets, Vatican Radio and the newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, continued to post losses, the figures showed.


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