VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican bank says it earned 31.9 million euros in profits last year, down from 36 million euros in 2016, as it works to pursue ethical investments even at the risk of losing money and clients.

The Institute for Religious Works issued its annual report Tuesday showing assets of 5.27 billion euros compared to 5.69 billion last year. Its profits will be turned over to the Holy See.

Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, who heads the commission of cardinals overseeing the bank, said Pope Francis had made clear he never wants a quest for profit to trump ethics.

That has informed the bank's investment strategy and recent decisions to reject proposed settlements, and pursue court sentences, in legal cases in Malta and the Vatican over mismanagement by former bank executives.

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