Peter’s Pence Donations Fell by Around 15 Percent in 2021, Says Vatican

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

Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves.
Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. (photo: Courtesy photo / Office of Communication Society of Jesus)

VATICAN CITY — 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, Jesuit Father  Juan A. Guerrero, 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.

“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%,” he said. 

“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,” Father 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.”

Father 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.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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