Jul 7, 2007

Vatican Finances and Vatican Radio

Yesterday (July 6, 2007), the Vatican released a summary of their financial statement for last year, and today Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Vatican's Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, released additional financial notes.

It seems apropos to review the spending and income of the Holy See because Peter's Pence is collected at this time of the year by U.S. Catholic Churches. A surplus of 2.4 million euro was reported, and it seems the institutional activity of the Holy See cut expenses (Secretariat of State, congregations, councils, tribunals, the Synod of Bishops and various other offices). More importantly, the donations that came from Episcopal Conferences, dioceses, religious Institutes, faithful and various Entities increased from 73.9 million euro in 2005 to 86 million euro in 2006. Contributions for Peter's Pence grew to 74.6 million euro in 2006 as against the 2005 total of 46.7 million.

A major drain on Vatican resources appears to be Vatican Radio (deficit of about 23.8 million euro) and L'Osservatore Romano (deficit of 4.4 million euro), even though the Vatican Printing Office and the Vatican Television Center reported surpluses. All newspapers are struggling with the revolutions of the information world, so L'Osservatore Romano's problems are not unexpected.

The large 2006 deficit is not the first Vatican Radio deficit. In 2004, several Cardinals also questioned a large annual deficit of Vatican Radio. In addition, the 2000 financial statement also reported a large deficit for Vatican Radio, noting that the number of hours transmitted in the year were almost 24,000, and that many [2000] Jubilee events were transmitted in as many as 60 languages.

The most useful information on the large annual deficits of Vatican Radio were reported in 2006 by CNS:
Vatican Radio, which accepts no advertising, and the Vatican newspaper, which accepts very little, are traditional drains on Vatican revenues.

One day after he was appointed director of the Vatican press office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who also serves as general director of Vatican Radio, told reporters the radio is working on reducing its deficit, which amounted to $29.9 million in 2005.

He said the radio was committed to reducing its staff from 395 employees to 335 by 2013, primarily by not replacing retiring workers whose jobs can be handled easily by others with the help of new technology.

As for advertising, he said the question was not only "ideological," but practical as well. Advertisers want to know how many people they will reach in a targeted geographic area, information Vatican Radio does not have for its programs broadcast in more than 40 languages around the world.
If you would like to listen to Vatican Radio, the signal is broadcast to North America on iTuner. I listened this morning to interviews with student astronomers given a chance to study at the Vatican observatory, and especially to an interview with Anita Garibaldi Hibbert, the great granddaughter of the Italian revolutionary, Giuseppe Garibaldi. Anita Garibaldi is the curator of Garibaldi 2007, a celebration of his revolutionary life.

The Risorgimento was the Italian revolution against the Papacy during the 19th century that was lead by Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Cavour -- all ardent Freemasons associated with the Carbonari. Wikipedia notes that the Carbonari (coal-burners) was "at the root of many of the outbreaks in Italy from 1820 on." The Carbonari was formed in southern Italy and was inspired by the principles of the French revolution. The controversial document, the Alta Vendita, was attributed to the Sicilian Carbonari. Wikipedia comments that the Alta Vendita details an alleged Masonic plan to infiltrate the Roman Catholic church and spread liberal ideas within it.

It was surprising (or perhaps not!) that the Vatican Radio is promoting Garibaldi's Bicentennial. In her introduction, Tracy McClure (the Vatican Radio interviewer) even called Garibaldi "one of Italy's greatest heroes." This in spite of the fact that Garibaldi was noted by his great granddaughter as getting to know many young woman and quickly forgetting them.

Frankly, I was not impressed with Vatican Radio and hope it goes "down the tube" if the stuff I listened to is typical of their programming. What I listened to showed Vatican Radio is more an enemy than a friend of the Church.

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