THE Vatican, embroiled in scandal involving its bank, released a rare bit of good news on its finances on Thursday, announcing that it had posted a €2.2m budget surplus in 2012.
However, figures released showed donations to a fund for use by the pope dropped by nearly 12pc in 2012.
The fall coincided with the year the Vatican was hit by a leaks scandal and the arrest of former Pope Benedict's butler.
The Vatican bank, which has been the subject of scandals for decades, is currently under investigation by Italian magistrates for money laundering. The bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), denies the accusations.
A Vatican spokesman said he believed the worldwide economic crisis was responsible for a drop to €56.9m from €69.7m the year before in Peter's Pence, a special collection taken up each year for use by the pope.
The surplus of €2.2m in 2012 was due "mainly to good performance in financial management", according to the statement, released following two days of meetings by Vatican officials, some attended by Pope Francis, to review the financial situation.
The Vatican budget includes costs for the running of the Catholic Church's central administration, known as the Holy See, and its embassies around the world. The main costs are its 2,823 personnel.
While the Vatican bank's figures were not given in the statement, it said the bank gave €50m of its profits to the pope "in support of his apostolic and charitable ministry".
The Vatican bank announced separately earlier this year that it had profits of €86.6m in 2012.
The bank's top two managers resigned on Monday, three days after a Vatican prelate with connections to the bank was arrested by Italian authorities on charges of plotting to smuggle millions from Switzerland.