How much is the Vatican worth?

Now that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning his post soon due to age, a lot of attention is now focused on the vatican once again.  Aside from his health, could there be any other reasons plaguing the vatican? Money problems the vatican butler threatens to reveal?

In my scouring the net, I am not one inch closer to any figure, as there are as much conspiracy theorists supposing that the Vatican has a lot of undeclared stash even since the time of the Templars and Holy Wars to the present–as there are write ups commenting that the Vatican has enough to barely break even on upkeep costs and that mosts assets it holds are really not sellable.

In the book THE VATICAN BILLIONS by Avro Manhattan,  he states that, “The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others. The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc. At a conservative estimate, these amount to more than 500 million dollars in the U.S.A. alone”

The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment.

However, According to the CIA World Factbook, Vatican City is not making a profit:

revenues: $374 million
expenditures: $388 million (2007)

The artwork (Sistine Chapel, Pieta, The Gallery of Maps, paintings by Caravaggio, Michelangelo, etc., etc., etc., etc…), commissioned & made by renowned artists, is what makes it priceless which could never be bought or sold.

In 2006, an article at memoryhole stated that Pope John Paul II got so fed up with people (primarily protestants) accusing the Catholic Church of sitting on vast sums of money that he started publishing their finances every year, starting back in 1981. This was a bit of a shock to many folks; back in 1965 TIME magazine had reported that bankers estimated the Vatican’s wealth at between $10 and $15 billion. Oh how wrong those bankers were. Last July the Vatican released an estimate of the worth of all of their real estate: a paltry $908 million. From 1970 to 1993 the Vatican was hemmoraging huge amounts of money, because some unwise Cardinals were spending more on charitable works than they were taking in in donations (in 1993 the only thing that changed was Canon Law was revised to indicate that diocese around the world were supposed to give donations to the Vatican). Not that they’re still not losing money; their 2003 budget saw revenues of 203.6 million euros and expenditures of 213.2 million.

Just recently, the BBC reports that Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced the Vatican must pay taxes on non-religious property, from which it previously enjoyed an exemption.

The annual cost could be up to 720m euros ($945m; £598m) according to municipal government bodies.

Italy’s Catholic Church has 110,000 properties, worth about 9bn euros.

It includes shopping centres and a range of residential property.  This is because in December, the government reintroduced a tax paid by anyone who owns land or property in Italy – which the Church does not pay.

But a growing wave of Italians are opposed to what they see as special privileges in the face of a tightening economy.  Following their government’s latest austerity measure package, more than 130,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Church’s tax exempt status to be revoked.

However, despite the vast assets of the Church, the Holy See made a loss of $18.4 million loss in 2011. Its $308 million income from IOR revenues – and supporters including its biggest single donor, the United States – fell short of the $326.4 million cost of running its global missions and operations such as Vatican Radio.

A separate budget for the Vatican City state, which deals with the administration of the church’s “home” in Rome made a $12.4 million profit in 2011, with most of its $113 million coming from tourists at its museums.

So with an organization that should only be awed and respected and revered by the faithful, it is not assumed to be like a position of public office where one’s assets and liabilities are required to be public knowledge.



  1. Wow, sa mga ganitong klaseng article lalo kong naiimagine ang yaman ni Bill Gates, kung dito sa vatican ay ilang bilyon lang ang usapan, ang pera ni bilgates ay over 50 billions :)

  2. There are so many out there that need attention more than the Vatican. I hope this issue will encourage transparency and the political will on the side of governments to eradicate corruption. Don’t focus on the Vatican issue because if governments will really impose their power on legal tax collection, they can solve their own problems.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Don’t even ask or inquiry as to the net worth of the Catholic Church in the Philippines from the church itself because they will not tell you the truth. If they did it would be embarrassing as they own tremendous amounts of land and they have substantial investments yet they continue to force Filipinos that cannot afford to give anything to give. If they do not contribute then they shame them.

    The church could do a lot to alleviate poverty using their wealth but then again it’s much easier to blame the government and keep their own money in the bank. Once you have lots of money in the bank, it gets harder to spend any off it even for a good reason. Just ask the rich people.

    Has anyone seen a skinny Bishop in the last 10 years? They have been overfeed and over pampered. They are fat, out of shape Bohemians. The care for their brethren in lip service only.

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