Church registers surplus of €3.5 million, but estimates loss of €8 million by end of 2020

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In 2019 the Archdiocese of Malta registered a surplus of €3.5 million, as opposed to the deficit of €137,000 in 2018, but it is estimating a loss of some €8 million by the end of this year.

This result includes a one-off donation of €2.4 million in shares given to Dar Tal-Providenza and Caritas Malta.

Addressing a conference on the Church’s financial report, Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese, Michael Pace Ross said that last year’s surplus was not enough to make up for the severe financial challenges caused by the Coronavirus pandemic on the work carried out by the Church in Malta.

“The pandemic had numerous negative effects on the Archdiocese’s financial year, and the archdiocese resorted to past surplus and savings to carry out the work,” Pace Ross explained.

He explained that whilst the Archdiocese cannot predict the costs and losses of 2020, the ‘back of the envelope’ estimates are predicting losses ranging from €6 million to €8 million. “We continue to appeal to the public for donations, so that the Church can continue carrying out its pastoral mission despite the difficult situation.”

He explained that due to the pandemic, revenue decreased sharply across the board; from fundraising, donations, investments, and APS Bank’s dividend which will not be distributed on the recommendations of the European Central Bank.

There was also a decrease in the income from the Seminary, Dar Tal-Providenza, the Beacon Media Group and other entities. “We also noted a decrease in revenue due to the fact that the airport was closed and tourists or locals were not visiting major parish churches and the Mdina Cathedral Church,” he explained.

The financial report shows that the Archdiocese recorded an increase in revenue of almost €6 million, mainly due to an increase in capital gains on investments and an increase in the dividend from APS Bank.

There was a registered increase in expenditure of €4.8 million in 2019, with 60% of the expenditure covering the wages of the clergy and laity, whilst 20% were operating expenses. Pace Ross also highlighted that there was also a 47% increase in spending for maintenance, restoration, and conservation, whilst the Archdiocese paid almost €1.4 million in taxes.

A €31,000 marginal lost was registered in 2019, after the surplus was distributed in subsidies to Church entities. Pace Ross said that in 2019 the Curia carried out various restoration and conservation works within the Archbishop’s Curia, including the restoration of the façade.

The increase in restoration and conservation works upped a 47% increase in spending for maintenance, restoration and conservation.