VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Tranquil on its surface, as COVID-19 has shut down nearly all activity in its churches, museums and offices, the Vatican has nonetheless been quietly dealing with its troubled finances during the pandemic. 

The world’s smallest state relies for revenue on a mix of donations, the sale of souvenirs and tickets to see its sites, along with investments. With the Vatican museums closed and donations down as its faithful face fears of a global recession, news reports continue to bubble up describing the Vatican’s financial health as “opaque,” “murky,” “scandalous” and, more recently, “at risk of default.”

A large portion of donations are made through Peter’s Pence, a worldwide collection that sustains the Church’s charitable works as well as supporting the offices

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