Instant Editorial: Pope Short of Cash

By Martha Hill
The News-Press

July 9, 2008

There was a good reason for such an exhausting PR exercise in the recent exchange of visits between Pope Benedict XVI and President Bush.

The latest victim of the fainting U.S. economy is none other than the Vatican.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II ordered annual financial disclosure as part of his efforts to debunk the idea that the Vatican is rich.

The Vatican just released its financial figures for 2007 showing a deficit of $13.5 million, caused by the weak dollar in U.S. offering baskets.

The Vatican pays many of its expenses in euros, a currency which has soared against the U.S. dollar.

The Vatican's annual Peter's Pence collection worldwide found U.S. faithful the most generous in absolute terms of the amount donated, more than $18.7 million

In 2007, U.S. faithful were the second leading donors, after Germans, in separate diocesan collections used to help the church worldwide.

But this is not enough. Either U.S. Catholics increase in population; their collections double up soon, or expect a second visit from the Pope with a stronger financial message.

- Martha Hill is Communicatons Link for The News-Press


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