By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Donations to the annual Peter's Pence collection, which supports the work of the Roman Curia and funds the charitable activity of the pope, held steady in 2021, but the total still was significantly lower than in 2018, the Vatican said.
Peter's Pence donations and income from investments totaled 46.9 million euros (about $49 million) in 2021, while the expenses -- grants and the money used to support the work of the Curia -- totaled 65.3 million euros, drawing on funds set aside from previous years, said the annual report published June 16 by the Vatican.
The Vatican Secretariat for the Economy previously reported Peter's Pence brought in 44 million euros in 2020. The collection had reached 74 million euros in 2018 before starting a decline.
Most of the income -- more than 65% -- is sent in by dioceses from the Peter's Pence collection held annually on or around the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29. Contributions also come from foundations, private donors and religious orders.
Some 13 million euros -- just under 30% of the money sent to the Vatican in 2021 -- came from dioceses and individuals in the United States, the Vatican said. Italian dioceses and individuals provided just over 11% of the donations, and those in Germany provided 5.2%. Rounding out the top five, dioceses and individuals in South Korea contributed 3.2% of the total, and those in France accounted for 2.7% of the collection.
As for the dispersal of funds, the Vatican said 55.5 million euros was used "to support the activities promoted by the Holy See in carrying out the Holy Father's apostolic mission," including the work of the Roman Curia and the Vatican nunciatures, or embassies, around the world. The Peter's Pence contribution covered only 23% of those expenditures.
Close to 10 million euros went to "projects of direct assistance to those most in need," the Vatican said. Almost half of those funds went to what the Vatican classified as "social projects," including, for example, a project in the Philippines to end the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children online.
About 32% of the funds were used to support "the evangelizing presence of churches in need," including building a dormitory for a seminary in Indonesia. And close to 20% was given to dioceses in need of help in building churches and other facilities, including the continuing construction of the cathedral of the Diocese of Moroto, Uganda.