Galantino on APSA financial statement: Credibility in service of Church's mission
By Vatican News
For the second consecutive year, APSA publishes its financial statement under the banner of total transparency.
Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, discusses the key figures of the 2021 Financial Statement, recalling that, as Pope Francis says in Praedicate evangelium, evangelization is a central priority of all Holy See entities.
For this, credibility and earning the trust of those who use their talents and resources for the Church’s mission are crucial. Of the 38.11 million Euro operational income and the 30 million Euro allocated to the Curia, there is a surplus of 8.11 million Euro.
In this regard, it should also be emphasized that in 2021, APSA made a greater contribution to the Curia (an extra 4.6 million Euro) than in previous years. Although facing recovery from the previous year, the 2021 financial year was still affected by the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic.
In addition, the financial outlook remains uncertain due to the war in Ukraine. Nonetheless, the administration has continued its policy of helping tenants in difficulty due to the crisis.
Q: Bishop Galantino, this is the second time the APSA financial statement has been published. Why has this not been done in previous years?
It is not that APSA did not compile its financial statements before or that APSA's budget was not subjected to analysis and oversight. The moment of publication was missing; the moment of communication was missing. This was an important moment to provide those who wanted to know with sufficient facts to make an informed judgment and to avoid uttering platitudes, such as those we sometimes hear, about the Church's real estate or movable property. This is the only way to avoid letting these platitudes surprise or scandalize those who are in good faith regarding the Church's patrimony. Communication is indispensable. It is an act of respect toward those - and there are many - who continue to entrust the Church with their talents and resources to support her in her mission.
Q: What are the key figures to highlight from this APSA 2021 financial statement?
The operating costs of APSA, related to the activities of the three sectors in which the Administration operates, were 38.11 million Euro for 2021 with an increase over 2020 of 16.1 million. Three points in particular should be emphasized. The first: asset management achieved a gain of 19.84 million Euro with an increase over the year 2020 of 4.5 million. This improvement can be attributed to unrealized gains in the valuation of securities at the end of the year. Second point: real estate management achieved a gain of 20.77 million Euro with an increase over 2020 of 5.5 million. Third point: the management of other assets saw a loss of 2.5 million Euro but an improvement over 2020 of 6.1 million. This improvement can be attributed to the lower deficit from Peregrinatio ad Petri Sedem and the lower deficit of ancillary management essentially attributable to the higher revenues achieved for the definitive acquisition of inheritance.
Q: Apart from day-to-day administration, is APSA engaged in other activities?
I can think of only two things. The Pope entrusted APSA with the task of selling the well-known property in London and removing the asset that had been the source of a scandal that certainly did absolutely no good for the Church. Thank God, we finally got rid of the London building, and the money that was made came back to Peter's Pence.
Then, the other activity that has kept APSA busy lately, together with other Vatican entities and especially the Secretariat for the Economy, has been the rescue of the Fatebenefratelli-Isola Tiberina Hospital from bankruptcy. Finally, through an agreement with the Policlinico Gemelli Foundation, it was possible to do an operation that really required a lot of effort, many meetings, agreements, and commitments, to be able to save this entity that was the flagship of Catholic health care.
The Pope wanted this hospital not to leave the circuit of Catholic health care facilities. Why? Not out of a frenzy for possession, but because being of excellence, it was right that it should not be left behind, that it should not just be used by private individuals, but instead remain an asset at the service of all, truly of all.
It is clear that the commitment of APSA and the other entities of the Holy See is justified solely for this, that is, to allow everyone, including the least, to be able to benefit from a facility of specialization with the now highly qualified collaboration of Gemelli.
Q: We have mentioned several times the will for change requested by the Pope. With Pope Francis' reforms, how much more difficult is it to repeat the mistakes and scandals of the past?
Mistakes, I think, can never be completely avoided as long as human activity is involved. But the reforms that are being put in place are meant to avoid as many as possible, humanly speaking, that there could be mistakes or worse, actions that not only damage the Church's patrimony but also erode its credibility and reputation.
Q: How does the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate evangelium guide APSA's action?
The Constitution Praedicate evangelium has decisively reoriented all the actions of the Roman Curia to the one mission of the Church, which is evangelization. Therefore, we too, as APSA, must continually keep in mind that we are called to evangelize through what we do. We certainly do not evangelize if the administration of the patrimony’s specific purposes under which it was established is lost.
If I set out to make speculative investments, I certainly do not evangelize. Nor do I evangelize when through neglect or incompetence that patrimony struggles to achieve the purpose of providing for what is necessary for the ordinary activity of the mission of the Church and the Roman Curia.
I repeat: credibility and the reputation of the Church, as we well know, also require competent and transparent management of the patrimony, so making the financial statement public is a concrete way to thank those who, in different ways, still generously entrust resources to the Church for her mission.