Vatican provides peak on net worth, opens up on property holdings

For the first time, the Vatican City has released data on its 5,000 real estate properties as part of a move to increase transparency on its investments.

In two documents, information about the property was contained in 50 pages of reports published by the Vatican.

The information shows that the Vatican owns 4,051 properties in Italy and some 1,100 properties abroad, excluding embassies around the world. About 40% of the properties were institutional buildings, such as schools, monasteries and hospitals.

The documents also details some of the investment properties owned by the Vatican in London, Geneva, Lausanne and Paris.

Only about 14% of its Italian properties were rented at market rates, while the others were rented at cut rates, many to church employees.

Records show investment properties are in upscale neighborhoods in Paris, Geneva and Lausanne, as well as in London, where the purchase of one property in the South Kensington district led to enormous losses in 2014.

The information was released ahead of a trial next week looking into the purchase of the London property by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

Ten people are on trial in connection with its purchase. Some face charges including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office.

Records also show that the Roman Curia, the Catholic Church’s central administration, ran up a deficit of 64.8 million euros in 2020.