VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican said this week it had stemmed a rising budget deficit thanks to increased contributions and strict controls on spending, but that Roman Catholics need to increase giving to make up the continued shortfall.
A Vatican statement Thursday put this year's projected budget deficit at $59.3 million, down from the $63 million forecast in March. That compares with a 1986 deficit of $56.7 million.
The statement disclosing details of the Holy See's financial position came after a three-day meeting of top cardinals.
The Vatican has been in the red every year since 1979, when it first made financial details public. The deficit then was about $20 million.
The budget covers expenses for the curia, or the church's central administration, Vatican radio, diplomatic missions and the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
The statement said contributions had increased to $35.7 million in the first nine months of 1987, more than twice the $16.9 million recorded for the same period in 1986.
Contributions for all of 1986 totaled $32 million, the statement added, without explaining how they increased so much in the last three months of the year.
It projected 1987 income at $53.5 million and expenses at $112.8 million, compared with income of $57.2 million and expenses of $113.9 million for 1986.