Scanning posts on Facebook, one drew my attention, it concerned Pope Francis…and his very open attack on capitalism, quoting a fourth century bishop, calling it the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil”, and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labor for developed countries. Of course what he said at a rally of loyal young devotees was full of indubitable truths…and seemingly good intentions…HOWEVER it was what he didn’t reveal that was interest.
I wonder how many people consider the wealth of the Catholic Church. If we think of it as a business…it has been running considerably longer than McDonalds (created in 1940) or Coca Cola (created 1944) or say Ford Motors (1903)…it has been in existence around two thousand years, and wealth began steadily accumulating during the middle ages, with gold and silver and artifacts. In the Middle ages you could “buy” your way into heaven…rich families could acquire high positions for their sons in the Catholic Church and this reinforced their belief that they would go to heaven and therefore gain salvation. In stark contrast, a peasant had to pay for a child to be christened (this being the initial step to getting to heaven as the people were told that a non-baptised child was barred from heaven); you had to pay to get married and you had to pay to bury someone from your family in holy ground…all nice little earners…along with the sales of relics… pilgrimages (early form of tourism) and Indulgences, which involved getting a certificate…that meant you were pardoned from your sins…If you happened to have some dead relatives, who happened to have misbehaved in their lifetimes, you could also get them pardoned for a “fee”. It seemed the church did a great marketing job, tapping into people’s ignorance and superstitions.
What exactly did the Pope say “Once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.” What wasn’t said was the Vatican has massive investments in the bank of the rich Rothchilds, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich, while in the United States, large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others. The Vatican obviously relies on shrewd business types as The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A. This aside there is the Vatican’s treasure of solid gold, which according to the United Nations World magazine runs into several billion dollars. A large quantity is allegedly lodged in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hording the rest. It is a jaw dropping fact that apparently The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner the world wide. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. Maybe with one of his future speeches in front of thousands of youth, the Pope should give an open statement about the Church’s wealth and financial situation…
Francis H Powell is a writer and author of Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories. Follow him on Twitter @Dreamheadz