Vatican’s finance czar reports $1.5 billion in hidden assets
ROME — Pope Francis’ finance czar today informed fellow members of the College of Cardinals that the Vatican has more than $1.5 billion in assets it didn’t previously know it possessed, although that potential windfall has to be balanced against a projected deficit of almost $1 billion in its pension fund.
The discoveries mean that the Vatican’s total assets rise to more than $3 billion, roughly one-third more than previously reported.
The cardinals were also informed that the Vatican’s real estate holdings may be undervalued by a factor of four, meaning that the overall financial health of the Vatican may be considerably rosier than was previously believed.
The disclosures at the closed-door meeting by Australian Cardinal George Pell, installed as secretary for the economy a year ago, was part of a wide-ranging overview of efforts at financial reform under Francis presented today to cardinals from around the world.
“We’re sound,” Pell said of the Vatican’s financial condition. “We’re muddled, it’s been muddled, there’s been inadequate information, but we’re far from broke.”
Pell spoke in an exclusive interview with Crux from his Vatican office.