Catholic church “struggling” to pay Britain back
The Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales has until April to clear its multi-million pound debt with the government over the papal visit, with officials admitting they are currently unsure how the cost will be met.
The government covered many of the church’s contributions towards the four-day trip, which took place last month, and wants the money to be repaid by the end of the financial year.
The church has raised £6.5m but, as the total costs are £10m, it faces a £3.5m shortfall. It is counting on diocesan and individual contributions, in addition to sales of a papal visit prayer book, to settle the account.
A parish collection raised just £1.4m while appeals to the wealthy were more successful, netting around £4m. The previous papal visit, from John Paul II in 1982, left the church £13m in debt as it had to foot the bill entirely for the pastoral tour.
Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/28/catholic-church-papal-visit-uk
Figures on the Vatican’s central wealth are notoriously hard to come by. This very old Time magazine article puts it at up to $15 billion … in 1965!