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Updated: Curia records deficit of €1.7 million - reserve fund exhausted

Updated - The Archdiocese of Malta had a deficit of €1.75 million in the 2010  financial year, Curia officials explained at a press conference today. That is a deterioration on the deficit of €869,555 the year before.

The Curia spent €1.08 million on the Pope's visit in 2010.

Fr Charles Cordina, Pastoral Secretary and Robert Agius, financial controller, said donations have continued to fall, in parallel with falling Church attendance.

They pointed out that with a decrease in the number of priests and nuns, the Church was having to pay more to engage people to help it provide  services, including children's homes and homes for the elderly, drug abusers, migrants and the disabled.

They said the Church's reserve assets had been eroded and the Church was now having to eat into its capital assets, but this was not easy because many of the properties it had been bequeathed had to be used for charitable purposes and could not be sold off.

Fr Cordina said it was becoming more of a challenge for the Church to continue to provide current services, although it would seek to continue to do so. At the same time, costs were increasing, not least costs to maintain Churches and other important buildings.

Expenditure was €26.3m in 2010 from €25.6m the year before.

The Church last year spent €162,711 on children's homes, €202,383 on Old people's homes, €567,907 on the media, €445,871 on the Ecclesiastical tribunal and €158,603 on the Foundation for Theological Studies, among others. Last year, the Church 345 full timers and 189 part timers on its payroll, most of them employed in social institutions. They were paid a total of €10.3 million. €1.4 million were spent on water and electricity. Tax increased to €392,000 from €257,000 in the previous year.

Parishes last year spent €396,000 on feasts, €68,000 less than the year before.

Income last year totalled €24.5 million from donations, investment and the sale of property (€378,849). The income was down slightly from €24.8 million in the previous year.

(income from church collections amounted to €8.9m a decrease of €651,000)

The officials said that the costs for the Pope's visit covered the religious activities and the Church only got a revenue of €200,000 from the sale of souvenirs and other items which were disposed of after use.

On the spending on the divorce campaign, the officials said that was something which would fall under the accounts of this year.

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