The Catholic Church in Croatia is under pressure to release their financial records. The non-governmental transparency watchdog Gong has stated that all of the financial records of the Catholic Church should be public, just as any other non-profit organisation in the country. Although it is law for all non-profit organisations to release their financial details the Catholic Church has still yet to comply.
Gong said that by refusing to review a series of treaties signed with the Holy See in the 1990s, the Croatian government has missed the opportunity to raise the issue of the financing for the Catholic Church, which is entirely funded from the state budget.
"There is no precise data on Church financing which is funded from the state budget. According to figures provided by the government, the Church gets around 600 million Kuna (€80.8 million) every year from the state budget, although no data for spending at the local level is available. When donations received from believers, and also allocations from abroad, are added in, the total amount is much higher, but not specified anywhere," said Gong in a press release.
And Gong added that although all non-profit organisations are required to release their financial details religious organisations are not required to release their revenue or even keep financial records.
Dubrovnik is one of the only diocese that actually publish their financial details, the Bishop of Dubrovnik, Mate Uzinic, was pointed out by Gong as a positive example of transparency.
And not only do the state greatly fund the Catholic Church but they also pay for various other religious obligations, such as Catholic chaplains in the military. In 1996 and again in 1998 the then government, which was made up of the Croatian Democratic Union, signed agreements to fund Catholic religious education at primary and secondary schools and also to pay the salaries of teachers for this subject.
All this means that they government is spending around 900 million Kuna of taxpayers’ money every year on the church and other religious costs. However, apart from the Dubrovnik Diocese, the actual financial reports are still hidden from the taxpayer.