The Vatican: Tightening the Papal Belt

Tightening the Papal Belt

When Pope John Paul II first got a glimpse of the Vatican budget in 1979, he was so shocked by its sorry state that he called an unprecedented meeting of * the College of Cardinals. Unfortunately, things have not improved much since then. Last week the Pontiff's budgetmen froze spending at last year's levels throughout the Curia, the body that governs the Roman Catholic Church.

Though the overall budget of the Holy See is a well-kept secret, church officials estimate that it ran a deficit of $56 million last year. The freeze means that the Cardinals who run Vatican ministries will...