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Vatican Braces for 2022 Deficit as Donations Drop in Wake of Financial Scandal

“We are probably weighed down too much by a few mistakes of the past that have detracted from our credibility as a Church,” Guerrero said, adding that the “excess of unnecessary bureaucracy” is probably born from the “fear of falling into the lack of accountability that led to those mistakes.”

This year’s budget projection has increased the number of entities included in its calculations from 60 to 90, adding other institutions, such as hospitals like the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, and papal basilicas and sanctuaries. As a result, the overall expenditures actually increased by roughly $11 million.

The decision of the Vatican’s Council for the Economy to include these new entities in the budget “is because these new parameters allow for a more complete view of the economic situation of the Holy See,” said Guerrero.

Despite the institution’s financial challenges, the Vatican has found a silver lining. “We have learned a lot from each other, and we have found a method of teamwork that was not widely practiced in the Holy See,” Guerrero said, recalling the ingrained practice by Vatican departments to jealously protect their own areas of influence and competence.

“Slowly, the culture is changing. We are working in the right direction,” he added.

The Vatican is also working to find other solutions to restore its troubled finances, including better management of the institution’s real estate holdings and centralizing its financial investments, Guerrero said. But fixing the Vatican’s internal efficiency won’t be enough, he added.

“We also need to look for ways to attract more donations. The first requirement is transparency and clear accountability, and I think we have taken many steps in this direction,” he said.

Guerrero said local churches throughout the world will also have to pitch in to help the Roman Curia, which supports and manages charitable activities and papal ambassadors. The 2022 expected budget shows that most of the Vatican’s resources are used to sustain struggling churches (21%), promoting the Vatican’s mission and message (16%), preserving its global presence (16%), supporting evangelization efforts (16%) and enacting charitable works (9%).

The Vatican must “enlist the help of the faithful, who want to support the Pope in his mission of unity in charity, which is, after all, what the Roman Curia does,” Guerrero said, adding that the publication of these reports might appease Catholic donors who can now see how their money is spent.

This article originally appeared here.