Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. / Office of Communication Society of Jesus.

Vatican City, Jan 28, 2022 / 05:33 am (CNA).

Donations to Peter’s Pence fell by around 15% in 2021, the Vatican announced on Friday.

In an interview with Vatican News published on Jan. 28, Fr. Juan A. Guerrero, S.J., prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, said that, while donations were still arriving from some countries, there was a marked decrease compared to 2020.

He also disclosed that the sale of a London property at the center of a landmark Vatican finance trial would be concluded in June.

Commenting on Peter’s Pence, he said: “Roughly speaking, I can say that in 2021 there has again been a decrease compared to the previous year, which I would venture to quantify at no less than 15%.”

“If in 2020 the total collection of the Peter’s Pence was 44 million euros [around $49 million], in 2021 I do not think it will amount to more than 37 million euros [approximately $41 million].”

“The decrease in 2021 is in addition to the 23% decrease between 2015 and 2019 and the 18% decrease in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.”

Peter’s Pence is the Holy See’s annual collection to finance the pope’s charitable works and other priorities, including the Roman Curia.

The annual collection is usually taken up in Catholic churches around the world on a weekend close to the June 29 Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

“We are very dependent on uncertain income, which we see decreasing every year in this time of pandemic,” Guerrero said.

“It has to be this way, since the way we receive most of the donations from the faithful is through the collection of the Peter’s Pence in the churches, and the attendance in times of COVID has been reduced.”

“This should make us think about other methods of soliciting the help of the faithful and receiving donations.”

Guerrero said that he would present the final figures for Peter’s Pence in 2021 after the accounts are closed at the end of February.

The interview with the Spanish Jesuit was published as the Vatican released more information about its budget for 2022.

The total deficit expected for 2022 is €33 million (around $37 million), compared to the €42 million ($47 million) shortfall budgeted for 2021.

Guerrero told Vatican News that the controversial London building had been sold above its valuation price.

“Sixteen bids were received, four were selected; after a second round of bids the best one was selected,” he said.

“The contract of sale has been signed, we have received 10% of the deposit and it will be concluded in June 2022.”

“The loss from the alleged swindle, which has been much talked about and is now being judged by the Vatican courts, was already taken into account in the balance sheet.”

“The building has been sold above the valuation we had in the balance sheet and the appraisal made by the specialised institutions.”

More to follow…