The wealthiest religion in the world is the Roman Catholic Church. This religion is estimated to have more than a billion members around the world. This membership base has contributed vast tithes and tributes since the designation of Catholicism as the official religion of the Roman Empire in 313 A.D.
The assets of the Roman Catholic Church include priceless art, land, gold and a wealth of global investments. It is estimated the church owned close to one metric ton of gold valued at $22.4 million in 2008. The Vatican earned revenues of $308 million dollars in 2011. The church earns a significant income from the tourism industry. Catholic News Service reported that more than 5 million visitors toured the Vatican museums during 2011.
It is difficult to determine the actual amount of wealth held by the Roman Catholic religion. Churches within the United States are not required to follow usual financial reporting and disclosure requirements. The business dealings of the Catholic religion are complex.