Vatican trail (theft) of Peter’s Pence Collection: “Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church”
Updated July 25, 2011
For those who are not aware of how the Vatican was built over the course of 100 years, watch the movie Luther (2003) see link below. The Vatican was selling indulgences to the poor and threatening them with the fires of Hell if they did not buy them. The Vatican was built from the moneys of poor peoples from all over Europe. Today, the Vatican has not change much in the way it operates -- by stealing moneys from poor peoples – through stealing from the Peter's Pence Collection meant for charities for the poor as this new book, Render Unto Rome, an investigation of the 2009 Peter's Pence Collection wherein $82 million was received but only $8.5 million were actually spent on works of charity.
To prove that the Vatican owns the Swiss Banks is like trying to prove that there are pedophile priests in the year 2002 when it first erupted in Boston. At that time it was almost unthinkable and impossible that such evil could exist in the Catholic Church because John Paul II was at his height and glory as the most "Holy Father" and holiest longest reigning pope for 24 years and he appeared as if he ruled with utmost holiness and greatness. But eventually almost 6,000 pedophile priests were brought forward in the USA and almost 3 billion dollars were paid by the Catholic church to almost 16,000 victims. So regarding the reality of the Vatican Swiss Banks we will be also proven right in due time as one revelation after another comes out from persons who write without fear and whose souls cannot be bought by the God-and-Mammon money of the Vatican Bank. Read our related articles in our sister weblogs:
The John Paul II Millstone http://jp2m.blogspot.com/
Fr. Marcial Maciel's Swiss Bank accounts: Angelo Sodano with Carlos Slim´s help has set his nephew up in business with a swiss registered company http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2011/04/fr-marcial-maciels-swiss-bank-accounts.html
JP2 Army John Paul II Pedophiles, Pederasts, Rapists-Priests Army http://jp2army.blogspot.com/
Vatican Swiss Banks $25 billion owned by Legion and Fr. Marcial Maciel who went frequently to Thailand for 7 and 8 year old boys http://jp2army.blogspot.com/2011/05/vatican-swiss-banks-25-billion-owned-by.html
9/11 victims 3,000. JP2 Army 100,000s. May Day: both Hitler and bin Laden Announced Dead on May 1 on John Paul II Beatification Day B-Day http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2011/05/911-victims-5000-jp2-army-100000s-may.html
The narcissism and grandiosity of John Paul II, Cardinal Bernard Law, Benedict XVI, and Bishop Roger Vangheluwe are nauseating and despicable http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2011/04/narcissism-and-grandiosity-of-john-paul.html
John L.Allen Jr.Pied Piper of John Paul II deceives Catholics with his essay Fast-Track Saint in Newsweek -with Vatican lunacy & Satanic timeline http://jp2army.blogspot.com/2011/05/john-lallen-jrthe-pied-piper-of-john.html
Victims in USA - Attackers - Responsible Leaders
Pearl Harbor - 3,000 victims - 170 planes - Admiral Yamamoto
WTC & 9/11 attacks - 3,000 victims - 19 Muslims - Osama bin Laden
JP2 Army - 15,736 victims - 6,000 pedophile priests - John Paul II & Benedict XVI & Opus Dei, the new Vatican Trinity
Opus Dei controlled the 27 years papacy of John Paul II and is therefore the foremost guilty party who aided and abetted and covered-up the John Paul II Pedophiles Rapists-Priests Army. Opus Dei wrote most of John Paul II’s books and writings and to ensure their perpetuity as “All things Catholic”, they want JP2 to be beatified and canonized now by Benedict XVI so as not to take any chances on other future popes. The FACE of Opus Dei is John Paul II and the PHANTOM Spirit of Opus Dei is their founder St. Josemaria Escriva, read our related article John Paul II, Patron of Pederasts and Opus Dei – analysis of Joaquin Navarro-Valls’ reasons for JP2 beatification at Opus Dei conference in Rome http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2011/04/john-paul-ii-patron-of-pederasts-and.html
Luther the movie 2003
Biography of Martin Luther, the 16th-century priest who led the Christian Reformation and opened up new possibilities in exploration of faith. The film begins with his vow to become a monk, and continues through his struggles to reconcile his desire for sanctification with his increasing abhorrence of the corruption and hypocrisy pervading the Church's hierarchy. He is ultimately charged with heresy and must confront the ruling cardinals and princes, urging them to make the Scriptures available to the common believer and lead the Church toward faith through justice and righteousness.
Noted author James Berry to speak in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
His new book is on Catholic Church finances
Three local organizations are sponsoring a reading and discussion in St. Louis on Tuesday of a nationally recognized writer who has a new book out about the largely secret finances of the Catholic Church.
Jason Berry has written “Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church;” the first real in-depth examination of the institution’s financial underpinnings and practices.
The Faithful of Southern Illinois (FOSIL), Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are sponsoring Berry’s appearance.
Berry is the nation's most experienced reporter on clergy sexual abuse, having uncovered the first nationally publicized pedophile priest scandal in Louisiana in 1985.
His first book on the crisis, Lead Us Not Into Temptation, was published in 1992. He has written on the church scandal for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post and worked as a consultant to ABC News. His 2004 book Vows of Silence (co-written with Gerald Renner), tracked the career of Marcial Maciel, one of the most powerful priests in Rome who was long shadowed by pedophilia accusations, and Pope John Paul II’s failure to remove him. With grant support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, Berry later did a film about the Maciel scandal and the Vatican justice system.
By Mark Silk on June 9, 2011
Yesterday I went up to St. Eulalia's in Winchester, Mass. to hear Jason Berry talk about his important new book, Render Unto Rome, to 50 or 60 members of Voice of the Faithful. No one has done more to investigate the underside of the contemporary Roman Catholicism than Berry, from his bringing to light the problem of sexual abuse of minors by priests back in the 1980s, to his work on Marcial Maciel and the Legion of Christ a decade ago, to his current exploration of, as the subtitle puts it, the secret life of money in the Catholic Church. Naturally, the ecclesiastical powers-that-be look at him as a turd in their punchbowl.
Render Unto Rome is rich in revelations, from the $2.3 billion in losses resulting from collection plate embezzlement in the U.S. over the past half-century to the financial wheeler-dealing of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. But perhaps Berry's most egregious discovery concerns Peter's Pence, the annual sum collected in June from parishes around the world for relief of the poor.
According to the USCCB website:
The Peter's Pence Collection unites us in solidarity to the Holy See and its works of charity to those in need. Your generosity allows the Pope to respond to our suffering brothers and sisters with promptness, love, and compassion, so God's people will not feel alone in their time of misfortune.
However, of the $82 million received in 2009 (the last year for which figures are available) Berry was able to identify only $8.5 million that were actually spent on works of charity. His conclusion is that the remaining 79 percent went to plug the Vatican's operating budget.
It would be nice if the news media and Catholics themselves took up the cause and began peppering Rome with inquiries about where all that alleged poor relief went--not to mention why someone like Sodano continues to occupy so exalted a position. Meanwhile, the USCCB has never seen fit to issue guidelines for the handling of collection plate receipts--the Church's principal source of income. When they meet later this month, why not put that on their plate?
Authority on sex abuse by priests to be in Toledo
BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Jason Berry, a journalist and author known for his meticulous reporting on sexual abuse by Catholic priests, is to be in Toledo today to discuss his latest book, Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church.
Mr. Berry spent 2½ years following the money trail in the Roman Catholic Church, which with 1.2 billion members, is the largest organization in the world.
The financial story includes donations made (or withheld) by average Catholics in the pews, sales of multimillion-dollar properties, and settlements paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Throughout his detailed research — the book contains nearly 40 pages of footnotes — Mr. Berry finds much of the church’s money unaccounted for.
He points out, for example, that Peter’s Pence, a global collection taken every June for the Pope’s use in helping people in dire need, raised $82.5 million in 2009, but the Vatican reported allocations of $8.65 million, only 10.5 percent of the total.
Looming over the church’s financial picture is the monetary impact of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.
In Portland, Ore., the diocese filed for federal bankruptcy protection in July, 2004, after a spate of lawsuits was filed alleging sexual abuse by priests, shortly after the diocese reached a $53 million settlement for 100 abuse claims, Mr. Berry writes.
At the same time that many U.S. dioceses faced increasing budget pressures, some — notably Boston and Cleveland — started closing parishes and selling valuable properties.
The debts from legal settlements, as well as from mismanagement, embezzlement, and declining revenue, are not directly linked to the sale of church property but are certainly “major factors,” Mr. Berry said in an interview with The Blade.
He called Cleveland’s closing of parishes, overseen by Bishop Richard Lennon, an “outrage” and “another sign of how downsizing, selling property, and the like become a mere instrument of diocesan finances.”
Mr. Berry’s book spotlights the case of the former St. James Parish in Kansas, Ohio, which was closed by Bishop Leonard Blair in 2005 during the Toledo diocese’s largest restructuring in its history.
The parishioners held a round-the-clock prayer vigil in the church, filed appeals with the Vatican under canon law guidelines, and pursued their cause in civil court, spending more than $100,000 on legal bills.
The diocese, meanwhile, used some of the funds acquired from St. James’ bank account after the parish closed to pay attorneys to fight the ex-parishioners’ legal suit.
Why did Mr. Berry include a small parish in rural Seneca County in a book with such a global view?
“It was just the rank injustice of it,” he said in the interview. “These are hardworking people in the heartland of America who clearly wanted to do everything they could to maintain a vibrant faith community. If your measurement of a vibrant faith community is dollars and cents, then the whole question of a parish is up for grabs. And the idea that Bishop Blair could take the cash reserves to use it to pay his lawyer to beat them in court and use it to tear down the church seems vindictive — winner take all.
“I think we have a generation of bishops who just seem unable to sit down with lay people who have valid questions and to negotiate differences in a pastoral, forward-looking way.”
In response, the Diocese of Toledo issued a statement Saturday saying that it “agrees with the position of the Toledo Blade in its editorial published Oct. 14, 2008, which stated that the lawsuit initiated by the Kansas St. James parishioners was ‘without basis.’ The Blade wrote that they ‘should stop holding onto a past that doesn’t fit the present’ and ‘that the only winner in this contest, in which the former parishioners are challenging the authority of Bishop Leonard Blair over church property, is the Columbus law firm representing them to the tune of “well over $100,000” in legal fees.’
“The Diocese would also point out that parish assets that remained after closing were spent principally on care of the property, insurance, and taxes [after it ceased to be a church] and eventual demolition. These expenses were prolonged by the time period during which some former parishioners refused to vacate the property.”
Mr. Berry, a Catholic who graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, said his investigations of the church have not shaken his faith. “I am severely disappointed and still shocked by the incompetence and corruption in the government of the church,” he said in the interview. “But I don’t want bishops, some of whom act like moral thugs, to drive me out of the place where I practice my faith. And I think a lot of Catholics feel that way.”
Jason Berry will speak and sign books at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Needmor Foundation, 42 St. Clair St., in downtown Toledo. Admission is free. Information: 419-345-9291.
Contact David Yonke at: email@example.com or 419-724-6154.
Scientologists, Catholics and More Money Than God
The New York Times
The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion
By Janet Reitman
444 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $28.
RENDER UNTO ROME
The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church
By Jason Berry
420 pp. Crown Publishers. $25.
By GARRY WILLS
Published: July 21, 2011
We do not need these books to tell us that money and religion make for a poisonous combination. But it is of some interest to see that ancient truth confirmed in both a church as relatively new as Scientology and one as ancient as Roman Catholicism. Even religious leaders develop a certain swagger when they know they are backed by bundles of cash. When a French court fined Scientology nearly a million dollars, one of its officials shrugged that off as “chump change.” And when the Vatican ran a deficit of nearly 2.4 million euros in 2007, an Italian journalist familiar with the church’s finances dismissed the debt as “chopped liver.” Chump change or chopped liver, both churches have bigger sums they can get to and use, and few outsiders are given a look at how they do it. These two books trace the cash source of theological confidence.
As Janet Reitman describes in “Inside Scientology,” Scientology did not begin as a religion, which its founder, L. Ron Hubbard came to consider his initial mistake. In 1950 Hubbard published his book “Dianetics,” which proposed a variant on the “mind cures” that have littered the American landscape through most of its history. He offered his followers a process of “auditing” that combined Freudian sessions with elements of his former career as a writer of science fiction. People being audited could relive their births, or test their future hopes on the E-meter, a kind of super lie detector that revealed “the anatomy of the human mind.” Mental health authorities, Reitman notes, were quick to condemn Hubbard’s claims as fraudulent. He did not, at this point, have the money to fight against such attacks, a situation he would spend the rest of his career correcting.
Hubbard’s failure to secure a strong financial base exposed him to a takeover of his concepts and properties. Barely two years after founding the movement, he lost Dianetics to a wealthy supporter named Don Purcell, who simply bought him out. To restart his project, he needed protection for it. He found that protection in religion. After all, one cannot buy out a religion. This “religion angle,” he wrote in 1953, is “a matter of practical business.” Being a church, Reitman writes, gave Scientology tax exemption, clerical status for his “ministers” (who wore Roman collars) and clerical exemption from the draft for these ministers. It also allowed him to rally even non-Scientologists to his defense against increasingly hostile government agencies, presenting any of his troubles as a persecution of religion, violating the separation of church and state. ...
The Catholic Church offers a very different picture, but one where money is even more important. Jason Berry, the reporter who broke several of the priest abuse scandals of recent times, finds the same pattern of deception, denial and subterfuge in the church’s handling of money as in its treatment of pedophiles. The Vatican comes to its high-handed way with money in an understandable fashion. In the Middle Ages, all authority was male and monarchical, so the pope became a king. His multiple realms had all the appurtenances of a medieval monarch — armies, prisons, spies, torturers, legal courts in papal service. The money flowed in from many sources — as conquest, as tribute from subordinate princes (secular and religious) or from the crops on farm lands held by the pope, who was not accountable to anyone for use of these funds. When normal sources did not satisfy papal ambition, clerical underlings invented new kinds of revenue — like the granting of time off in Purgatory for cash contributions during life (“indulgences” for sale).
All that seemed to be ending in 1860 when Italy at last united its secular government and began taking away the pope’s realms. Pope Pius IX rejected the Italian government’s efforts at partial restitution, calling the secular regime illegitimate. He made himself a “prisoner of the Vatican,” never venturing out into Rome, or even addressing it from his balcony. Catholics in sympathy to Pio Nono’s “martyrdom” by the modern state increased their popular donations to the Vatican called Peter’s Pence. This donation arose in the seventh or eighth century, when the pope was still a monarch. It was set aside from the monies exacted from various parts of the papal empire, as something coming voluntarily from the people in the pews. The announced purpose was for the pope to have extra money for the charities he supported.
But after 1860 a surge of sympathy made Catholics everywhere, but especially in America, pour large sums into the Vatican, originally conceived as giving the pope military assistance, but then turned over to him for any use. No longer were papal charities the rationale. In fact, the lay cardinal who was Pius’s secretary of state, Giacomo Antonelli, took all available Vatican sums for ambitious new financing schemes. Already in 1857 he had used Peter’s Pence funds as collateral for a new loan from the Rothschild banking firm. Antonelli made one of his brothers the head of the Pontifical Bank. Another Antonelli brother secured a monopoly on Rome’s grain imports (a key to power in Rome since classical times). Antonelli soon had papal investments in countries all over Europe. The pope’s distress was made the excuse for a new financial empire, with no accountability for the funds used.
That non-accountability continues. The Vatican issues statements of its assets — in 2007 the amount was 1.4 billion euros — but the Vatican Bank is off the books, as is a metric ton of gold, and other things not reported. On a list of papal assets, St. Peter’s Basilica and other historic sites are listed as worth one euro each. No wonder, as Berry says, “the Holy See’s true net worth is invisible.”
Having set this historical background, Berry begins his true project — the use of funds in the American church during its modern time of troubles. He grants there are excuses for the financial maneuvering of the Catholic bishops. “The Roman Catholic Church in America is undergoing the most massive downsizing in its history,” he writes. “Since 1995 the bishops have closed 1,373 churches — more than one parish per week for 15 years.” There are many reasons for this wrenching development — lower church attendance, which means fewer donations from the pews; the movement of parishioners from inner cities to the suburbs, stranding old ethnic structures; the loss of free labor in Catholic schools by the declining number of nuns. We can add to this the payment of damages to the victims of priest pedophiles — though many bishops claim they haven’t closed churches because of the sex scandals.
Berry says it is hard to verify this claim because the ordinary bishop is as loath to reveal his transactions as the pope is. A lay group begun in Boston, the Voice of the Faithful, asked that the financial arrangements of the diocese be exposed, and it was fiercely resisted by bishop after bishop. Church authorities in some cities banned the V.O.T.F. from meeting in any parish. The same bishops had earlier opposed revealing what sums were paid to victims of sexual abuse. Settlements forbade the victims from revealing this. Even when settlements were reported, other hidden costs were kept secret — for instance, how much had gone to expensive rehabilitation centers through which the pedophiles were endlessly and uselessly recycled, and to legal costs while the bishops were denying accusations.
Lay people were also kept out of the decision on which churches to close. Good faith attempts by lay people to cooperate in evaluating this procedure were rebuffed. While Cardinal Sean O’Malley was trying to remedy the harm done the Boston diocese by Cardinal Bernard Law’s recycling of pedophiles, his auxiliary bishop Richard Lennon was managing a professedly separate operation to close churches — he would finally shut down 62 in the Boston area. The opponents to Lennon’s plan alleged that he was selecting properties most likely to bring the highest price for resale, not taking into account community support, unconsidered resources or the possibility of merged work with nearby parishes. At eight condemned parishes, people devoted to their churches kept round-the-clock vigils, refusing to give them up. Appeals were taken to Rome, but the man responsible for parishes, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, refused them a hearing. Berry finds the Boston pattern repeated in other dioceses, like those of Cleveland and Los Angeles.
Then, returning to Rome, Berry shows the power of money to squelch evidence that the founder of the ultra-conservative Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, was a serial child molester and had illegitimate children in Mexico. I met Berry in 2002 at the bishops’ Dallas meeting on the sex scandals. He was just beginning his exposé on Maciel, and I followed his work after that, since he was up against vituperation from the Legionaries, criticism from people like William Bennett, and a cold shoulder in Rome, where he went with Maciel’s victims to plead their cause. Unfortunately, Maciel was a great favorite with Pope John Paul II and his secretary of state, Angelo Sodano. It helped that Maciel showered Rome’s cardinals with expensive gifts. Every Christmas Legionary brothers fanned out across Rome to deliver lavish Christmas baskets to the hierarchy, with fine wines, liqueurs and rare Spanish hams worth up to $1,000. He sent a million dollars in support of the pope’s visit to Poland. He gave large cash gifts to Sodano. He ordered a Mercedes-Benz for Cardinal Pio Laghi, though Laghi turned it down. Sodano and others were entertained in style at the Legionary headquarters.
Cardinal Ratzinger, who had taken charge of all sex claims reaching Rome, sat on the charges against Maciel, at the urging of Cardinal Sodano, who reminded him that Maciel was well liked by Pope John Paul. Ratzinger held off until John Paul was clearly dying; then he hurried to remove this incubus from the church. In December 2004 Ratzinger’s office ordered Maciel to step down, pending an investigation. Even then the Vatican Press Office, under pressure from Sodano, denied that there was any “canonical process” against Maciel. But once Ratzinger was Pope Benedict XVI, he consigned Maciel to a period of prayer and penitence and began a thorough re-evaluation of his order.
Whether Berry is considering sex scandals or money scandals, or the refusal of the hierarchy to be open with its own believers on many fronts, the thing that sours all relations is secrecy — as we can see from the conduct of our own government. Secrecy eats at the soul. Some are surprised that religion is so corruptible. They should not be. When secrecy is used to protect a higher order of knowledge, it can make the keepers of the secrets think of themselves as a higher order of humans. Corruptio optimi pessima, goes the old saying. Blight at the top is the deepest blight. It is the sin of taking God’s name in vain.