Papal visit to Lithuania: spending arrangements and calls for Church to reveal figures
Despite almost all institutions preparing for the papal visit having already published their expenditure estimates, the Church plans to publish its figures only after the visit.
A governmental working group assessing the necessity of the planned expenses held a meeting last week. In early July, the government decided to compensate up to 1.75 million euros of costs related to preparations for the upcoming two-day visit of Pope Francis.
The lion's share – over 1.2 million euros – will be allocated to the Catholic Church of Lithuania via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And the VIP Protection Department will receive up to 248,000 euros via the Ministry of the Interior.
Vilnius authorities are set to receive up to 109,000 euros, and Kaunas autohirities will get up to 163,000 euros. Over 28,000 euros will be allocated to the Ministry of Health.
Government Vice Chancellor Alminas Mačulis, who chaired the working group's meeting, hopes the papal visit will cost less.
"We are trying to specify and discuss things, based on tender results and market prices, what we should spend the money on and what would be excessive," Maciulis told BNS Lithuania.
The Church says it will publish its financial reports after the papal visit as now these are only estimates and figures might later change. On top of the 1.2 million euros allocated by the government, the Church plans to additionally spend 0.5 million euros of its own funds and also funds from various foundations and donations.
Pope Francis will visit Lithuania on Sep. 22-23 and later on travel to Latvia and Estonia.