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Vatican hospital owes $1.5 billion
The Vatican’s San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, with its adjacent universities, is on the verge of bankruptcy, with debts exceeding a billion and a half dollars. Some of its financial problems were caused by excessive spending and bad investments not directly related to hospital management such as its involvement in international hotels, a private aircraft, and expenses involved in plantations in South America. Earlier this year, the hospital’s growing debt crisis forced its Board to approach the Holy See to seek financial assistance from the Vatican Bank in an attempt to save the hospital. In a rescue operation then set up, Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone assembled an expert management team who were positioned on the hospital’s Board of Directors to oversee the crisis.
It is not yet known what the Vatican Bank’s financial commitment will be in the bailout, but Italian sources suggest amounts ranging from 250 to 400 million euros, the initial payments being to cover the most urgent debts that San Raffaele has incurred with pharmaceutical companies. If that figure is confirmed, it will add further to the pressures on Vatican finances in the global economic crisis which already finds itself under pressure due in part to payouts of billions of dollars to priesthood child sex abuse victims and the drop-off of incoming contributions by the faithful.
It is alleged that the Holy See’s financial advisors warned the Pope that this bailout is risky, so whether the hospital will be saved may not be known for a few weeks. However, a Vatican insider is reported to have said that Pope Benedict XVI has asked some of his Church’s more important bishoprics around the world to provide more consistent revenues to the Holy See to help the Vatican’s finances.
Quote of the day:
"Almighty God! How long will this superstitious sect of Christians, and this upstart invention, endure?"