Vatican calls on Brazilian government to provide bailout to cover £26m shortfall in funding for Pope's visit to Rio

Pope Francis will make his first international trip to world's largest Catholic country for World Youth Day celebrations

Rio de Janeiro

The Vatican has reportedly called on Brazil's government to provide a £26 million bailout to help cover an expected shortfall in funding for the visit of the Pope to Rio de Janeiro later this month.

A deficit in the expected millions of pilgrims - whose contributions were expected to largely fund the cost - led to the Vatican identifying a black hole of up to £44 million, according to Brazilian media.

But Brazil's federal, state and city officials in Rio de Janeiro, who have already committed at least £48 million of public money to the £100 million plus project, are said to have refused to contribute any more.

Pope Francis, an Argentinian, will make his first international trip to the world's largest Catholic country for the World Youth Day celebrations to be held between July 23 and 28.

Local media suggested that recent mass protests across Brazil - where more than a million people demonstrated about the lack of investment in public services when contrasted with mega-events such as the Pope's visit, the World Cup and Olympics - may have played a part in that decision.

The plan was for the pilgrims - who had been expected to number up to two million - to fund up to 70 percent of the costs with payments of between £31 and £175, according to Brazil's O Globo newspaper.

But, so far, only about 320,000 pilgrims have registered, with government officials indicating that they fear perhaps less than half the initial estimate will attend.

According to the newspaper's sources, Vatican officials met with Rio city mayor Eduardo Paes, Rio state governor Sergio Cabral and Gilberto Carvalho, a senior aide to Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, on Friday and requested that each provide an extra £8.8 million in funding.

The state government is said to have confirmed the existence of the meeting but would not comment on its contents while the Archdiocese of Rio denied the event was in financial difficulties.

Brazil's federal government is already committed to spending £33 million on the event, most of which is being spent on a massive security operation including thousands of military, police and firefighters.

The security operation is said to be unprecedented for a visiting dignitary in Brazil.

Both of Rio's city and state authorities are committed to spending at least £7.6 million on costs such as logistics and free transport for the pilgrims, with fears that both could yet end up spending more.

Some funding for the event, which will culminate in a mass on Copacabana Beach, has also been provided by sponsors, including fast food chain McDonald's.

Last week Brazilian bishops visited the Vatican to report on the protests that have swept Brazil, amid fears that the visit may have to be cancelled if the vast demonstrations continued.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
John Terry puts Chelsea ahead
football
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David performs in his play ‘Fish in the Dark'
theatreFish in the Dark has already generated a record $14.5m in advance ticket sales
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tvReview: Too often The Casual Vacancy resembled a jumble of deleted scenes from Hot Fuzz
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
news
Arts and Entertainment
Jemima West in Channel 4's Indian Summers (Joss Barratt/Channel 4)
tvReview: More questions and plot twists keep viewers guessing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003