On Wednesday last week, the Wall Street Journal published a troubling report about how the Vatican handles charitable donations it receives from Catholics.
The report, by Francis X. Rocca, details how as little as 10% of the $55 million received annually goes towards charity while the rest is used to help offset the Vatican's budget deficit.
Peter's Pence is a special charity collection from Catholics conducted every June. According to the Vatican's website for the charity, the collection is a “gesture of charity, a way of supporting the activity of the Pope and the universal Church in favoring especially the poorest and Churches in difficulty. It is also an invitation to pay attention and be near to new forms of poverty and fragility.”
According to Rocca's report, for at least the last five years, only about 10% of the funds collected have gone towards the kinds of charitable causes advertised.
At least two-thirds of the money has been used to cover the Vatican's budget deficit. The deficit doubled in 2018 to more than $76 million on a $333 million budget.
Since Pope Francis was elected in 2013, the Peter's Pence fund's assets have dropped from more than $775 million to $665 million.
Donations to the fund have dropped as well. The $55 million raised in 2018 was about $10 million less than 2017's number.
Pope Francis's leadership has been questioned quite a lot during what many see as his failure to properly address the church's sexual abuse crisis. The financial administration in the Vatican has also come under quite a lot of fire lately, too. Shady investment deals conducted by the Vatican's Secretariat of the State, which manages the Peter's Pence fund, were recently uncovered. Money was used to invest in real estate and, of all things, Hollywood movies like Rocketman and Men In Black International.
On October 1st, Vatican police raided the offices of the Secretariat of the State, seizing documents, computers, and cellphones as part of an investigation into the way millions of dollars were being managed in these kinds of worrying ways.
The investigation is still ongoing, and surely as more news is released, the story will get much worse. I just reinforces that Vatican officials have been corrupt and conducting criminal activity in ways that go beyond just sheltering pedophile priests. They are guilty of all sorts of crimes, and it is about time we dismantle this criminal organization.