Church reports €8.8 million deficit, but has doubled donations to people in need

Last Updated on Tuesday, 8 August, 2023 at 2:26 pm by Andre Camilleri

In 2022, the Archdiocese of Malta registered an overall deficit of €8.79 million due to a tumultuous year for investments as a result of inflation, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine, but has also more than doubled its donations to people in need and increased subsidies to entities by 20%.

Speaking at a press conference on the annual financial report of the Church in Malta, Administrative Secretary Michael Pace Ross said that the impact of a negative global economic landscape has adversely affected the income of the Archdiocese.

The losses and provisions for impairment on investments accounted for €5.21 million of the deficit.

The Archdiocese encompasses more than 100 entities and employs 1,302 staff members. Pace Ross said that the Church has employed more pastoral workers, and despite the closure of Dar Sagra Familja in Naxxar last year, nobody lost their employment.

Pace Ross said that needs have increased, and so the Church has doubled its donations, as well as helping with basic necessities in the Maltese parishes. These donations have totalled to €1.21 million.

Both the income of the Church as well as the expenditure have increased, with operating income rising by €1.58 million in 2022. The total income recorded in 2022 was that of €10,276,873, up from the €7.8 million in 2021.

Pace Ross said that investment income from the dividends received from APS bank, was primarily the reason for a rise in income. Investment income advanced to €8.39 million, including €5.19 million in dividends from APS bank. 

Collections and donations received by parishes also increased by 17% compared to the previous year, to €1.6 million, which was driven by a rise in mass attendance and the re-introduction of feasts after the pandemic. Despite this, they did not reach pre-pandemic figures.

Pace Ross said that the inheritances decreased by €0.45 million, and income from fundraising activities have decreased by 23% primarily attributable to Dar tal-Providenza and Caritas. 

He said that following the initial public offering in June 2022, the shareholding of the Archdiocese in APS bank was diluted, from 80% to 55%. 

Pace Ross said that today, the church does not have enough to make cash injections into the bank, and it is time for the public to benefit from the bank’s success, so that they can benefit from dividends.

The expenditure for the Archdiocese has increased by to €55.8 million last year, from €48.5 million in 2021,with €33.6 million going to the renumeration to priests and lay employees accounting for 60% of all expenditure. More than €1.2 million were distributed among vulnerable groups.

The Archdiocese incurred a one-time expense of €902,741 for the papal visit last year.

The Archdiocese said that a €3.4 million increase was recorded for the maintenance, restoration and conservation of ecclesiastical property and patrimony, amounting to €16.28 million. The Archdiocese also paid €2.5 million in taxes.

Government Covid-19 assistance reached €1.59 million in 2022, up from €1.24 million in the previous year. Government funding also increased by €2.57 million, of which €0.84 million went primarily towards salary increases at the Archbishop’s Seminary and Sacred Heart schools.

Pace Ross also detailed the income and expenditure of the Archbishop’s Curia in 2022, which registered a net deficit of €2 million compared to €2.3 million in 2021, after accounting for losses and provisions for impairment on investments, as well as subsidies to various diocesan entities.

Income for the Curia increased by €2.43 million, with the main increase of €2.30 million recorded as investment income, due to the dividend from APS bank. Increases were recorded across all main income lines.

Pace Ross said that the Curia forked out €900,000 for the papal visit and subsidised its media section with €321,159. Subsidies primarily went to children’s homes, the Foundation for Theological studies and homes for the elderly.

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