Vatican sees third straight loss

Pope Benedict XVI The Vatican has been making financial reports public since 1981

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The Vatican has seen its third consecutive financial loss, with a 4.1m euros (£3.4m; $5.2m) deficit in 2009.

It saw revenues of 250.2m euros against expenses of 254.3m euros.

But annual donations from churches worldwide - known as Peter's Pence - were up by about 9% in 2009 at $82.52m.

Most of the Vatican's outlay was to cover the activities of Pope Benedict XVI, and services such as Vatican Radio which is broadcast on five continents in 40 different languages.

It said it also faced costly improvements to its telecommunication system while restoring cultural treasures and ensuring security added to the bill.

The Vatican began publishing annual financial reports in 1981 when Pope John Paul II set out to challenge perceptions that the Vatican was rich.

In 2008, the Vatican lost 900,000 euros but in 2007 saw a 9.1m euro deficit.

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