Some Financial Data for 2020
In this section of Romana we periodically provide financial information regarding the previous year. In doing so, we also wish to express our gratitude for the help given by many benefactors who assist in the work of evangelization carried out by the Prelature of Opus Dei.
Moreover, we should also remember that the faithful of the Prelature are ordinary Catholics, mostly lay people, who carry out a professional work. They support themselves like any other citizen and, to the extent of their possibilities (after providing for their personal and family support), they assist the financial needs of the Prelature and the apostolic initiatives to which the Prelature offers spiritual guidance: a university, a school, a social initiative, a residence or a center where formative activities are given... The directors of the Prelature provide information about these initiatives, their needs and how to help out.
It was the explicit wish of the founder of Opus Dei (found in number 122 of the Statutes) that the Prelature not take on responsibility for the managerial, technical or financial aspects of these activities, nor that it be the owner of the goods used for the various apostolic activities, but that it limit itself to providing Christian leaven for these initiatives. It is up to the faithful of the Work, in keeping with their secular condition, to assume full responsibility for the apostolic initiatives they organize as citizens.
Therefore we need to distinguish the finances of the Prelature of Opus Dei from the independent financial functioning of these apostolic initiatives.
In any case, although in this bulletin the Prelature’s institutional financial information is limited to its central offices in Rome, data from some other regions is also included for illustrative purposes. In addition, information is offered on some of the apostolic initiatives that receive support from the faithful of the Prelature, as well as from cooperators and friends.
Finances of the Prelature
With regard to the Prelature as such, the faithful of Opus Dei and other benefactors offer alms and donations for the support and formation of its own clergy (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 295, § 2), for the material functioning of the prelatic curia and the governing bodies in the various circumscriptions, and for financial assistance to needy persons. The Prelature accepts only those donations required to cover these needs, with the desire not to accumulate funds.
Countries where the Prelature is present
In the circumscriptions where it is established, the financial responsibility of the Prelature is limited to the support of its own clergy and the operation of the seats of government. By way of example, total expenses in the Region of the United States in 2020 were $9,812,000, distributed as follows: $3,300,000 in priest support (33.6% of expenses); $6,364,000 in government and formation (64.9%, split 21.4% for personnel [$2,096,000], 43.5% for operation of the seats of government [$4,268,000]), and $148,000 for charitable aid (1.5%). All came from donations from the faithful of that circumscription.
Curia of the Prelature in Rome
In 2020, operating expenses of the central offices of Opus Dei reflected the impact of the Covid pandemic, and were lower than the previous year, amounting to 1,392,290 euros:
Maintenance of the property (buildings within the triangle formed by viale Bruno Buozzi, via di Villa Sacchetti and via Domenico Cirillo): 476,785 euros.
Expenses for consumption and assistance of those who carry out the work of the curia: 774,902 euros.
Administrative expenses (including expenses of the curia offices, the communications office, legal advice, alms, travel, etc.): 140,603 euros.
Financial functioning of the apostolic initiatives to which the Prelature offers spiritual assistance.
These initiatives are educational and social institutions of a civil nature, brought forward by members of Opus Dei together with many other people. The Prelature takes responsibility for the pastoral care and Christian orientation, through an agreement with the promoters of each one. The juridical and financial concerns of these initiatives are the responsibility of their directors (associations, foundations, social cooperatives, etc.) and the civil juridical entity that owns them, set up for this purpose. They are of course subject to the laws and regulations of each country, and report their financial results in accordance with the principles of transparency established by law and by their own statutes.
Each entity has its own governing bodies and is autonomous. That is to say, it has a clearly identifiable ownership and does not depend on the Prelature for its management or organization.
They are financially sustained thanks to the income generated through their own activities (for example, the payment of tuition fees at a university) and, in many cases, also thanks to private donations and public subsidies in line with their purpose, as they are initiatives of social, educational and cultural interest.
As already mentioned, the directors of the Prelature inform the people of the Work and others about how to assist these initiatives. At the same time, they also ensure that the conditions for the correct management of goods are in place (seriousness, temperance, transparency, etc.), and that the laws and fiscal obligations are fulfilled.
The faithful of the Prelature also help out, to the extent of their possibilities, with the needs of the diocese and parish where they live. For example, through the regular collections for the missions (Domund), for Caritas, for the support of the diocesan seminary, and others that arise throughout the year to alleviate hunger or other basic needs. Many of them take part in other civil organizations dedicated to caring for the needy: soup kitchens, food banks, support associations for single mothers, medical clinics for the needy, etc.
In this issue of Romana we include, by way of example, data on some institutions of this type taken from their financial reports: CADI (Center for the Support of Integral Development), the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and some social assistance institutions. In subsequent issues of Romana, information on other institutions on various continents will be included for illustrative purposes. All the above-mentioned initiatives have authorized the publication of their data in this bulletin.
The Center for the Support of Integral Development (CADI, www.centrocadi.org) is an institution focused on community development and improving the quality of life of children and families at social risk. It is located in Casavalle, a neighborhood in Montevideo with the highest poverty rate in Uruguay. In 2020, it covered its financial needs (almost $900,000) with subsidies from the State (85%), with donations from private individuals and foundations (8%), and with contributions from the families who participate in the Center’s activities (7%). The center supports families at social risk through the educational, work and community integration of women in society. Next to CADI is the Los Rosales school, which financed 60% of its budget in 2019 ($200,000) with donations from companies and individuals. The remaining 40% was financed by family fees.
The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome, Italy) offers five higher education degrees and other courses related to Theology, Philosophy, Canon Law and Communications. The students include lay people and religious from every continent, as well as diocesan priests from all over the world, sent by their bishops to obtain licentiate and doctoral degrees. The University’s website publishes an annual financial and income statement: www.pusc.it/info/bilanci.
The 2020 report records for that year an income of 10,987,307 euros (65% of which came from donations from institutions related to this university in various countries, which include donations from benefactors in the various territories), and expenses amounted to 11,073,288 euros, with a negative accounting result of 85,981 euros, covered by the University’s endowment fund. With regard to aid for the formation of priests, it is worth mentioning that the foundations connected with the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross – thanks to thousands of donors – annually grant around 1,930,000 euros in scholarships to 215 students from needy countries whose bishops cannot afford this expense.
In 2020, the University adopted measures to cope with the health emergency caused by Covid-19. Face-to-face teaching activities were suspended for several months, but continued on-line; and extraordinary academic activities (conferences, seminars, etc.) were suspended or postponed. The university has reduced its costs in 2020 by 900,000 euros compared to the previous year, in view of the economic crisis and the expected decrease in future donations.
Also in Rome, next to the seat of the Prelatic Curia, are the Roman College of the Holy Cross and the Roman College of Holy Mary, interregional centers for theological and spiritual formation, for men and women respectively. The Roman College of the Holy Cross is also the seat of the Prelature’s international seminary. With about 130 students, its financial outlay in 2020 was 2,040,260 euros. The Roman College of Holy Mary had 85 women from 30 different countries studying there. The financial outlay was 900,000 euros. Both centers are supported by contributions from the faithful of the Prelature from all the circumscriptions.
Social and charitable initiatives
Among the social assistance initiatives promoted by the faithful of the Prelature are many that provide services to the most needy sectors of society. By way of illustration, in 2020 the NGO Harambee International (born during the canonization of St. Josemaría Escrivá to encourage educational projects in Sub-Saharan Africa) collected 615,900 euros to be used for initiatives organized by local African organizations, among which are the campaigns in response to the emergency caused by Covid for three hospitals: in Nigeria (Niger Foundation Hospital), in Ivory Coast (Centre Sanitaire Walé), and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monkole); and the improvement of school infrastructures organized by the Diocese of Ludwar (Turkana) in Kenya. Detailed information is available at www.harambee-africa.org.
Romana, n. 72, January-June 2021, p. 88-92.