The Vatican on Saturday made public for the first time information about its real estate holdings, revealing that it owns more than 5,100 properties, mainly in Italy.
The publication marks one of the most detailed disclosures of Vatican assets ever. It lists 4,051 properties in Italy and 1,120 abroad, not including the Vatican’s embassies.
The information was published in two documents, totaling more than 50 pages of financial records: a 2020 consolidated financial statement and the first-ever public records of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which manages the Church’s payroll, real estate and investments.
Records show APSA owns investment properties in upscale neighborhoods in Paris, Geneva and Lausanne, as well as in London, where the purchase of one property in the South Kensington district led to enormous losses in 2014.
The information was released ahead of a trial next Tuesday looking into the purchase of the London property by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.
Ten people, including prominent Cardinal Angelo Becciu, are on trial in connection with its purchase. Some face charges including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office.
A majority of the Vatican’s properties in Italy are rented at reduced rates to Church staff. About 40 percent are institutional buildings such as convents, but also schools and hospitals, according to Reuters.
The documents also show that the Roman Curia, the Catholic Church’s central administration, ran up a deficit of €64.8 million in 2020. Vatican officials were reported blaming the coronavirus pandemic for a negative impact on finances.
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