Vatican pension fund denies financial woes
The Vatican’s pension fund insisted Friday that it’s in decent financial health, issuing its first public accounting to try to dispel what it called “alarmist information” about a shortfall circulating in the media.
The Vatican’s financial czar, Cardinal George Pell, has raised concern about the fund’s long-term health in recent newspaper interviews, saying it is sufficiently funded for the next 10 to 15 years but needs to be strengthened for future generations.
In a statement, the fund managers said they had taken many steps already to address future commitments, including raising the retirement age and pension contributions, and that the fund was expected to top 500 million euros ($712 million) by the end of 2015 after having started out with the equivalent of five million euros ($7.12 million) in 1993.
Pell was tasked last year by Pope Francis to put the Vatican’s finances in order after years of mismanagement, waste and scandal. But questions have swirled about the scope of his power amid resistance from the Vatican legal office to his proposals for sweeping oversight.
He also raised eyebrows by boasting in an essay that he had “discovered” hundreds of millions of euros that didn’t appear on the Vatican’s balance sheets.
In fact, the money was well known, and both Pell and the Vatican subsequently clarified that nothing illicit was going on. Much of the money was a reserve fund established by Pope Paul VI to be used for extraordinary expenditures or shortfalls.