Late last month, the Vatican announced the coronavirus pandemic had forced Pope Francis to postpone an annual fund raising campaign among Catholics worldwide to help him carry out his ministry. The delay of “Peter’s Pence” by more than three months to the first weekend in October has come at a particularly bad time, as other revenues, notably from the Vatican Museums, slow to a trickle.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc with the Vatican’s finances, forcing it to dip into reserve funds and implement some of the toughest cost control measures ever in the tiny city-state. Against this bleak backdrop, top Vatican administrators held an emergency meeting in late March. They ordered a freeze on promotions and hirings and a ban on overtime, travel and large events.