27 July 2016

On Vatican corruption

The anecdotes are endless: the monsignor who appropriates a room from the adjacent apartment of a poorer priest simply by knocking down the party wall while the other man is in hospital; the diplomat priest who takes advantage of the diplomatic bag to carry mafia money across the Swiss border; the organisation Propaganda Fide, instituted to evangelise the world, that spends relatively little on this mission while owning almost a thousand valuable properties in and around Rome, many of them rented way below market price to friends and favourites.

It is striking how many Catholic organisations seem to do a whole range of lucrative things they were never set up to do, while still enjoying tax exemption as religious institutions. When priests in Salerno were granted €2.3 million of public money to build an orphanage in a depressed urban area, they built a luxury hotel instead. Found guilty of appropriating funds under false pretences in 2012, the archbishop of Salerno avoided punishment when the crime lapsed under the statute of limitations before his appeal could be heard. Others went to jail.

- Tim Parks, 'The Passion of the Bureaucrats', London Review of Books, 18 February 2016

See also:
Italy: Fra Mauro's map, 23 July 2015
Italy96 hours in the Eternal City, 16 October 2010
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