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Insight & Analysis - June 6, 2022

5 Ways the Catholic Church Make Money

It is no news that on the 5th of May, gunmen opened fire on worshippers assembled at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state. Many people, including children, lost their lives. 

Videos and photos circulating on the internet show how the cathedral was laid to waste. 

Catholicism is the oldest part of Christianity in Nigeria, dating back to the Portuguese in the 15th century. Modern Catholic churches, on the other hand, only appeared in the 1800s, and the mission has since contributed to several aspect of Nigeria’s economy.   

The Catholic Church has seen significant growth in Nigeria in recent years, establishing and funding quality schools, medical care, and social services that the government has failed to offer.

Approximately 1.3 billion people call the Catholic Church their spiritual home. It’s also a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

Here are five ways the catholic church makes money. 


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1. The Vatican Bank has an asset base of $5.6 billion

Established in 1942, the Vatican Bank is currently worth $5.6 billion in assets. Since its inception, it has been at the centre of numerous scandals and wrongdoing. 

Pope Benedict started the process of cleaning up the bank, and Pope Francis has continued in that vein. 

2. The Vatican had over $1.2 billion outside its balance sheet

The Vatican, which is a separate entity from the Vatican Bank, revealed that it had assets worth more than $1.2 billion that weren’t previously on the balance sheet when it filed its 2014 financial results.

The Vatican is divided into two halves. The Vatican City State, which oversees Vatican City, and the Holy See, which governs the Catholic Church.

Despite receiving nearly $53 million from the Vatican Bank, the Holy See reported a deficit of $27.9 million in 2014. 

3. Proceeds for  Renting out the Sistine Chapel

For the first time in October 2014, the Sistine Chapel was hired out to Porsche.

As part of Pope Francis’ Art for Charity effort, forty Porsche lovers paid $5,900 to attend a gala under Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling.

The Porsche guests were given a private choral concert and a meal in the exhibit, although the normal visitor is only allowed a short stay in the chapel for fear of damaging the frescoes.

4. It costs a lot to be a saint

It is not inexpensive to have a priest canonised. For example, in an endeavour to recognise a deceased priest as a saint, Father Nelson Baker, the Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica in Lackawanna County, New York, raised nearly $250,000.

5. Under Pope Francis, tourism revenue in Vatican City has more than tripled

Since Pope Francis took over from Pope Benedict in March 2013, tourism has virtually tripled.

Over 12 million people attended events featuring Pope Francis at the Vatican. And it doesn’t include the almost 13 million people who attended Pope Francis’ events outside the Vatican.

Between 2005 and 2013, Pope Benedict XVI received 20.5 million visitors.


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