The Holy See, the Vatican's central administration, reported a budget deficit of 14.9 million euros ($18.6 million) last year as the crisis in financial markets added to the cost of staff and expenses to fund its media.
Revenue from investments and donations failed to offset the costs of the administration's 1,887 employees and of running Vatican radio and other media projects, the Holy See said today in a statement. The Holy See's revenue rose 7.5 percent to 82.8 million euros in 2011.
"The negative performance of global financial markets didn't allow us to reach the planned targets," the Holy See said.
The deficit was the first for the Holy See since 2009 and comes after a surplus of 9.85 million euros in 2010. The Holy See, which tries to supplement donations from Catholics around the world by investing in traded securities, benefited in the 1990s from booming stock markets, before plunging into the red for the first time in 2003.
The Vatican bank, formally known as Institute for the Works of Religion or IOR, last year offered the Pope a special contribution of 49 million euros, today's statement said.
The Vatican is home to Pope Benedict XVI and located in central Rome near the Tiber River.
Separately, the Vatican Governorate, the institution that runs Vatican City and its support offices, had a surplus of 21.8 million euros last year due mainly to an increase in visitors to the Vatican Museums, today's statement said. Revenues from the museums rose to 91.3 million euros, up from 82.4 million euros in 2010.