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VATICAN-BUDGET Feb-16-2012 (340 words) xxxi

Cardinals hopeful about 2012 Vatican budget despite global crisis

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican budget forecast for 2012 pleased an international group of cardinals who advise the Vatican on economic matters, but the cardinals still expressed concern about the impact of the global economic crisis on central church offices.

The Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See met at the Vatican Feb. 14-15 to review the budget forecast for 2012 and the initial preparation of the final budget report for 2011.

Coming less than a month after the leak of letters claiming financial mismanagement and corruption in Vatican City State, the cardinals on the council assured Catholics around the world that "there is an ongoing commitment to improve the administration of the goods and resources of the Holy See," including Pope Benedict XVI's decision in December 2010 to establish a financial oversight authority for the Vatican.

The Vatican's short communique about the February meeting did not contain any figures either for projected income and expenses for 2012 or from the 2011 consolidated budget. Normally, the Vatican publishes final budget figures in July for the previous calendar year.

The statement said the 11 cardinals present at the meeting expressed "their pleasure at the forecast," but also expressed concern about "the prevailing general crisis, which has not spared even the general economic system of the Vatican."

The impact of the global crisis, it said, is seen especially on the budget forecast for the Holy See, which includes the Roman Curia, Vatican diplomatic missions around the world, Vatican media outlets and Vatican investments. The Holy See budget relies heavily on donations from the faithful and from Catholic organizations.

There is a separate budget for Vatican City State, which includes the income-generating Vatican Museums and Vatican post office.

Despite declining donations, the budget of the Holy See ended 2010 with a surplus of about $13.1 million. And the budget of Vatican City State ended 2010 with a surplus of about $28 million, according to figures released last July.


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