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There is an agenda behind all this talk of leaks and scandal at the Vatican

Many powerful groups want to reduce the influence of the Church in public life

By on Friday, 2 March 2012

Italian financial police in front of St Peter's Basilica (PA photo)

Italian financial police in front of St Peter's Basilica (PA photo)

Did you know that the Italian Catholic bishops’ conference receives about €1bn a year from the Italian state through a tax exemption known as the 8×1000? Did you know that the Italian bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire, received almost €6m in 2010, and several Catholic magazines have received more than €1m in the same year? Did you know that much of the Church’s real estate is not liable to the “ICI”, Italy’s property tax?

These are just some examples. There are others, too, that I imagine non-Italian Catholics do not know about. But are we aware of what all this means in terms of public life?

Let us grasp the nettle: when we deal with all these media attacks against the Vatican we must consider the power of the Italian Church. Yes, the so-called Vatileaks scandal is part of the internal war between factions of Vatican officials. On the other hand, the reason why so much of the Italian media is keen on it is that many powerful groups want to reduce the influence of the Church in public life. There is a war inside, but there is one also outside.

If you read Italian newspapers and magazines and watch Italian television, most of the news about the Church depicts leakers, scandals, gossip and attacks. Some in Catholic circles just say: “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.” Others put the blame on unidentified demonic enemies who are plotting to erase the Church and destroy the world.

But why don’t we just admit that the Church is a real force in Italy, and the price of that power is to receive robust criticism. If you choose to enter the field you must play by the rules. And the power game is rough. It’s like rugby: you can’t be surprised if someone jumps on you.

  • Parasum

    “But why don’t we just admit that the Church is a real force in Italy, and the price of that power is to receive robust criticism.”## It may well be a force – but, what kind of force ? The article does not state, or even imply, that it is is a force for good: never mind a force for the Gospel. And that is disconcerting, to say the least. Especially as there all kinds of forces, some far from benign. A Church that does not have, and practice, and live by the values of the Gospels & the first Christians is not a blessing, even though it may be a force in society.

  • Benedict Carter

    This article is in badly-written English and says nothing substantive at all.

  • GFFM

    Why would the Catholic Herald print this piece of fluff? It says nothing of any worth at all? One learns nothing by reading it.

  • Anonymous

    The ongoing argument about this tax relief concerns commercial activities engaged in by local churches, dioceses, Abbeys, et cetera …

    A hotel that is owned by and operated under license from a church is eligible to this tax exemption, despite the fact that a hotel is not a chapel, nor is staying in a hotel by any stretch of the imagination any kind of religious activity.

    There is NO question at all that the principle religious activities of the Church might become subjected to taxation, and those who are suggesting it are just wrong. The examples provided, of a Catholic magazine or newspaper are liminal, in that it may not be immediately obvious that such activities might be ones of evangelisation or not ; but they do not very well illustrate the fundamental area of the debate, which concerns some purely commercial activities having no religious value at all, apart from the revenue that they provide to the local churches.

  • Patrickhowes

    This article says absolutely nothing of value.As a catholic Iam encourgaed by the hope that the Catholic institution will finally be reformed by people outside it.We have just gone through one of the most disgraceful periods of sexual abuse on children ever!.The Maciel scandal revealed the corrupt nature of Cardinals like Sodano a nd others receiving huge grace and favour payments.The victims of abuse have been unable to sue the Church as it cowardly hinds behind an ancient treaty which allows it not to be answerable before any court than its own!And people have it in for the Church?Somebody needs to open his eyes and his ears and get real

  • Gunner 7161

    Paolo my friend,

    Did you know that if the secular world will kill a babe in the womb, there isn’t anything beyond them, including an attempt to restart that of Charlemagne? They need money to do that, for influence and power to share with France and Germany. It is what is written of in Revelations Chapters 13 and 17. Secular Elitist are moving through a closely kept humankind control agenda and need to pay off many folks to keep that movement on track. I believe there once was a Vatican Banker found hanged under a bridge near the Vatican. Perhaps for not for filling his obligations to the movement or the mafia. No matter, as at the 2nd Advent, all individuals will all be put to the judgment, as well as, the nations of the world for their sins. Woe be to those who’ve loved self (Pride, Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, etc.) but not loved mankind as the Christ did in giving up His life for even the least of us. 
    GOD’s Peace my friend.

  • Rob

    It’s all happening just as it was written. 

    I wonder if other people accused (outside the Cattholic Church) of pedophilia get sued for money.

    Seems just the Church does, or it’s the only one in the media that’s publisized for getting sued for this matter.