The Institute for Religious Works, also referred to as the Vatican Bank, places Catholic ethics before profits.
The Institute for Religious Works (IOR), more often referred to as the Vatican Bank, had a solid year in 2022, earning 29.6 million euros in profit. The organization credited its success to placing Catholic ethics ahead of profits. Now, these profits will be put to use in various charities in need of funds.
According to RNS, the IOR’s earnings were practically spiraling in 2021, bringing in only 18.1 million euros compared to the 36.4 million euros they netted in 2020. While the 2022 numbers have yet to return to the full force of 2020, they have seen more than half of their losses return. The institute explained the actions that led to a better year in 2022:
“Throughout 2022, IOR continued to expand its banking and investment services, further develop its IT platforms, hire experienced professionals in managerial roles, promote generational turnover, as well as introduce a transparent and structured remuneration and incentive system,” the institute’s report read, reiterating that the organization is “highly committed to the principles consistent with the Catholic faith.”
Extra funds will allow the Vatican to expand its charitable endeavors. The Commission of Cardinals, which oversees the IOR, has allocated 3 million euros to Pope Francis’ personal charitable works, 2 million euros will go towards charities of the commission, and another 200,000 euros will go to charities of the IOR’s choice.
Bouncing back from such a devastating 2021, as well as overcoming harsh criticisms over money laundering charges which arose in 2019, has been a positive sign for the Vatican Bank. The trial, which concerns dubious investments in the London real estate market of some 150 million euros, is ongoing. However, Moneyval, the anti-money laundering committee, considers it “as one of the best ranked institutions in the world.”
Speaking to the Vatican media, Monsignor Battista Ricca, Prelate at the Vatican Bank, commented on the IOR’s legal troubles in past years:
“There has been the realization that the institute is part of a larger and more important organism and that organism is not the financial world, but the Holy See.” Ricca continued, “This realization has greatly reduced the idea of acting independently and of being able to operate free from any rule. Also, the specter of the genuine disasters committed in the past is always there to keep us on the alert.”