The Vatican is in a near-default situation, according to a new book by an Italian investigative journalist who regularly publishes material based on leaked documents.
Gianluigi Nuzzi’s latest work, “Giudizio Universale” (Last Judgement), was released in Italy on Monday, and the La Repubblica newspaper ran advance excerpts.
The book says Pope Francis received an internal report in May 2018 stating: “The deficit afflicting the Holy See has reached worrying levels, at risk of leading to default.”
Expenses by the Vatican’s central administration were said to have risen by 62 per cent, from 16.4 million euros (18.3 million dollars) in 2015 to 26.6 million euros in 2017.
Meanwhile, donations for the pope’s personal charity fund, the Peter’s Pence, have dropped to 51 million euros in 2018, from 101 million euros in 2006, the book reports.
Nuzzi also renews allegations that the Vatican mismanages its substantial real estate holdings and uses for charity only 20 per cent of Peter’s Pence resources.
Another Italian investigative reporter, Emiliano Fittipaldi, charged in a Sunday report for l’Espresso magazine that Vatican finances are managed “opaquely and with no transparency”.
Fittipaldi’s article focused on ongoing investigations by Vatican prosecutors on the decision to invest 200 million dollars in a real estate investment in London’s upmarket Chelsea neighbourhood.
The Vatican did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2015-6, Fittipaldi and Nuzzi published other material on alleged Vatican scandals, and were tried by a Vatican court for breach of papal secrets. They were eventually acquitted.