Sandro Magister brings us this information on the financing of the Church in Italy:
Every year the Italian state allocates 8 per thousand of its tax revenue to the religious confessions that have entered an agreement to benefit from it.
Among these the Catholic Church gets the lion’s share. The state allocates around a billion euro to it each year. That is a lot, but it must be kept in mind that the Catholic Church in Germany, which is half the size of the Italian Church, receives five times as much from the state every year by virtue of the “Kirchensteuer,” the tax on religious affiliation in effect in that country.
In Italy, on the other hand, the allocation of the combined total of the 8 per thousand among the various religious denominations is decided every year by the taxpayers, who are free to indicate or not, with a signature, to whom they want the contribution to be given. And from 1985 until now, or in other words ever since this mechanism has been introduced, the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church have been in an overwhelming majority, reaching in the record year of 2005 nearly 90 percent of the signatories, or 89.82 percent to be exact.
2005 was the last year in which John Paul II was pope. And various commentators associated with his popularity the peak that was reached by the 8 per thousand.
Just as in 2013, the final year of Benedict XVI, it was easy to associate with the unpopularity of this other pope the drop to 80.91 percent of the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church.
But today, after five years of the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, once again extremely popular, how do things stand?
After a timid upturn to 81.23 percent of signatures in 2014, the follow-up has been entirely on the decline:
– 81.09 percent in 2015;
– 79.94 percent in 2016;
– 79.36 percent in 2017, the last known figure and a negative record in the history of the 8 per thousand.
But take care. If instead of the percent of votes one looks at the absolute figures, meaning the number of signatures in favor of the Catholic Church, the tune changes.
One discovers, for example, that the all-time record in the number of signatures was reached during the pontificate not of John Paul II but of Benedict XVI: in 2011, with 15,604,034 signatures.
Not only that. In all the last six years of Benedict XVI, the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church were above 15 million, which had never happened in the pontificate of John Paul II.
And the same happened in the first two years of Pope Francis. Followed, however, by a clear and continuous drop:
– 14,437,694 in 2015;
– 13,944,967 in 2016;
– 13,762,498 in 2017.
Go here to read the rest. Francis Effect? In any event Caesar paying the Church is always a very bad business for the Church. In our country the Church has come to rely increasingly on contracts with governments for services provided through charitable activities of the Church. He who pays the Piper always ultimately calls the tune.