Pope Francis has led the charge on vaccinations and reduced pay to prelates, but more may be needed to recover.
The Vatican has reported losing over $108 million since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The losses are believed to be in large part due to the loss of Rome’s tourism industry. Experts have suggested that vaccinations are key to the Vatican’s financial recovery.
A report from CBS News suggests that more losses are to come as the Vatican prepares for another quiet Easter. The Vatican announced in late March that it would continue COVID-19 restrictions throughout the holy day. The restrictions have seen the Vatican museums close several times since last March, which has halted one of their largest revenue draws.
The lack of museum ticket sales has been compounded by the loss of Rome’s tourism. The Sistine Chapel is one of Rome’s biggest attractions, but it has remained empty for many months. Now, the Vatican has had to find other ways to lower expenses.
A report from Aleteia notes that the Vatican has had to cut the salaries of cardinals, staff, and religious. Cardinals in particular faced a 10% pay cut across the board. These decreases were noted to be indefinite, suggesting the Vatican expects a slow recovery even were the pandemic to end.
Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo told CBS News that there is concern over the Vatican’s financial recovery. He said that between a decrease in the number of faithful, ongoing Church scandals, and the world pandemic, it may be hard to bounce back. Msgr. Figueiredo commented:
“It’s like being in a boxing ring and not knowing where the next punch is coming from.”
The Vatican has banded behind the Italian vaccination effort, which could help tourism return to Rome. Pope Francis has led an effort to vaccinate 1,200 of the poor and homeless who reside around St. Peter’s Square. The square was the site of the vaccination booths, but it is otherwise empty of visitors.