Vatican registered revenues of over 227 million euros in 2006

The Vatican reported on Tuesday a narrow budget surplus of EUR 2.4 million (US$3.2 million) in 2006, down more than EUR 7 million from its strong financial showing the previous year.

In its annual financial report, the Vatican said it recorded revenues of EUR 227.8 million (US$310 million) against expenses of EUR 225.4 million (US$306 million) in 2006.

It gave no details or explanation of the figures, pending a news conference by financial officials Friday.

In recent years, Vatican accounts have been battered by labor costs and the costs of the Vatican's expanding worldwide diplomatic missions. Of the 2,704 people working in various offices of the Holy See, the Vatican said 1,600 are lay employees.

Many of the expenses are covered by payments from dioceses around the world.

The statement also said contributions to Peter's Pence - individual donations to the Pope, which are listed in dollars - rose to US$101 million (EUR 74.3 million), up from US$73 million in 2005.

It also reported a positive result for the Vatican city-state, listing a surplus of EUR 21 million (US$29 million). Some 4.2 million people visited the Vatican museums last year, a major source of the revenue.

Church officials who examined the financial report Monday also discussed the need for new technology investments in its information division, which includes a daily newspaper, radio station and TV service, the statement said.

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