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Vatican posts eight straight years of financial gains

The Holy See said on Friday that it had posted its eighth straight year in the black, thanks to some shrewd investment decisions and a good currency exchange rate.

"We didn't fall into the trap of the new economy," Associated Press quoted the Vatican's economic chief Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani.

Until 1993, the Vatican posted losses for 23 years. The situation was reversed when the bishops from around the world started directly assisting the Vatican.

Sebastiani said the Holy See doesn't invest in companies that "clash with Catholic moral teaching."

The Vatican posted a gain for the 2000 fiscal year of $A16.73 million, on costs of $A382.87 million and revenues of $A399 million.

"I think so, why shouldn't he? It's normal. The Italian president gets a salary, why shouldn't the pope? But I don't know anything about it, how big it is or how it's decided."

Vatican sources say the pope gives away nearly all the funds at his disposal to charities, churches and relief organisations.

CBC CanadaAP