Vatican officials have told Roman Catholic Cardinals for the first time about the shaky state of church finance, according to a spokesman for the Vatican.
CU & SV Cardinals arriving at Vatican for extraordinary meeting (5 SHOTS)
GV INTERIOR Tourists looking at status in hall
GV Alitalia aircraft, Alfa Romeo shop, hotel, Colgate-Palmolive factory, Chase Manhattan building (6 SHOTS)
GV St. Peter's Square, Rome
GV INTERIOR Pope John Paul arriving and addressing Cardinals (3 SHOTS)
DARBY: "It has been estimated the Curia, the Church government, is now chalking up a yearly loss of about 12 million dollars. This has led the Pope to call the first extraordinary session of the College of Cardinals since the nineteenth century. Usually Church princes only meet to elect a new Pope. Though the Church has priceless treasures it is hardly likely to put them on the market in an effort to bolster its finance.
But what will be examined are the extensive investments the church has or has had in a variety of Italian and international companies, Secrecy has always cloaked church shareholdings but from the Italian airline to prestige car films, it is thought investments are in the billions. Ten years ago in a major reform the Church attempted to diversity investments, selling some Italian holdings and buying in other countries especially the (United) States. However, like the rest of us, the church has been hit by inflation, the general economic depression and the falling dollar (U.S.). At the same time the church's growing bureaucracy has led to a swollen wages bill and higher pensions for former employees.
The cardinals will look at various reports, the most important being the economic budget of the Holy See. They may then decide to take an historic step and following the advice of Pope John Paul, make public for the first time the church's balance sheet. John Darby reporting."
REPORTER: JOHN DARBY
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Background: Vatican officials have told Roman Catholic Cardinals for the first time about the shaky state of church finance, according to a spokesman for the Vatican. Father Romeo Panciorli said that the long secret information was disclosed in three reports which would not be made public. Reuters News Agency reports that the annual Vatican deficit was estimated to be 12 million dollars (5.5. million pounds). The 120 Cardinals were called to Rome for a special meeting to learn the state of the church's finance. Visnews' John Darby reports.