This is a good article revealing the astuteness and deep generosity of the managers and donors respectively, of the funds providing the financial foundation of the Holy See.
“Providing comfort is the fact that the IOR, the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Vatican bank legendary for its impenetrable secrecy, seems to have finished 2008 in modest good health, in spite of the global financial disasters. Every January, the president of the IOR – for the past 20 years, this has been Angelo Caloia, from Lombardy – has presented the pope with a generous check in proportion to the year's profits. The amount of this check is top secret, but reliable sources say that it is approximately twice the amount of Peter's Pence, the donations from all over the world sent each year to the pope, for his charitable activities.
“And Peter's Pence is a well-known benchmark. In 2007, it came to 94.1 million dollars, 14.3 million of which came from a single donor who wanted to remain anonymous. In contributing to Peter's Pence, the most generous nations have been, in order, the United States and Italy, with 28 and 13 percent of the total respectively. Germany lacks a little behind, with 6 percent.
“But Peter's Pence is not the only source of donations for the pope. There are also the offerings and contributions that the dioceses and religious congregations all over the world are required to give to the successor of Peter, according to canon 1271 of the code of canon law.
“In 2007, these contributions amounted to 29.5 million dollars, with Germany in the lead at 31 percent of the total, the United States with 28 percent, and Italy with 19 percent. These offerings are given freely, but for a few years the Vatican has asked the dioceses to give at least 1 euro for each baptized person, and the religious congregations to give at least 10 euros for each member. But these guidelines are widely ignored. Some contributors give more, but most give much less. The Church's central government remains very far from managing itself according to a regulated system of taxation.
“Peter's Pence and the other donations to the pope are administered by an office of the secretariat of state, directed by Monsignor Gianfranco Piovano. It is from here that the Holy See gets its money for its many "emergencies," the latest of these a hefty contribution for the rebuilding of Gaza. The money is deposited at the IOR, which has handled it very prudently since Caloia has been at the helm. Caloia's fourth consecutive five-year mandate ends in June of 2009, and those in the running to replace him include Antonio Fazio, a former governor of the Bank of Italy. Another rumored candidate is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who has five children and is a professor at Catholic University, the president of Banco Santander in Italy, and a brilliant economic commentator for "L'Osservatore Romano." But it is likely that Caloia will remain at his post for a little while longer. The decision will be made by the five cardinals who oversees the IOR, more specifically the current secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone, and his predecessor and rival Angelo Sodano, whose former secretary Piero Pioppo is firmly planted in the bank with the role of "prelate."
“In addition to Peter's Pence, two other balance sheets made public in their general outlines are that of the Holy See, and that of the governatorate of Vatican City.
“Each of the two administrations is headed by a cardinal: the Holy See by Attilio Nicora, from Lombardy, president of the APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, and the governatorate by Giovanni Lajolo, from Piedmont, the previous Vatican foreign minister and nuncio to Germany before that. The two administrations have separate accounts and responsibilities.
“The governatorate is the heir of the old Pontifical State. It takes care of property, buildings, security, health, water, energy, postal service, stamps, coins, communications, supplies. The papal villas of Castel Gandolfo also fall under its jurisdiction, including a farm that produces fruit, vegetables, oil, and eggs, and has 26 milk cows. It has about 1800 employees, and 600 more in retirement. But it almost always ends the year with a profit. Most of its income comes from the Vatican Museums. Financial profits are more variable. In 2006, for example, it made a profit of 7.2 million euros. The following year, it lost 8 million.”