Ed Dreher gives the low down on Peter’s Pence:
A conservative Catholic friend passed along to me this article from today’s Wall Street Journal (paywalled), with a salty line stating — I’ll put this nicely — that this is why he and his wife give nothing to these, um, dissembling churchmen. Excerpts from the piece:
Every year, Catholics around the world donate tens of millions of dollars to the pope. Bishops exhort the faithful to support the weak and suffering through the pope’s main charitable appeal, called Peter’s Pence.
What the church doesn’t advertise is that most of that collection, worth more than more than €50 million ($55 million) annually, goes toward plugging the hole in the Vatican’s own administrative budget, while as little as 10% is spent on charitable works, according to people familiar with the funds.
The little-publicized breakdown of how the Holy See spends Peter’s Pence, known only among senior Vatican officials, is raising concern among some Catholic Church leaders that the faithful are being misled about the use of their donations, which could further hurt the credibility of the Vatican’s financial management under Pope Francis.
Can you imagine donating to a charity that only spends ten cents of every dollar on actual charity? Who would do that? The Pope is not breaking any laws by doing this — he has a right to spend the donations as he likes — but this is not what the Church tells Catholics it is doing with the donations:
The use of Peter’s Pence donations mostly to plug the budget deficit is particularly sensitive for Pope Francis, who began his pontificate by calling for a “poor church for the poor,” and has continually emphasized the church’s mission to care for and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable.
The head of the Vatican’s press office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the use of the funds.
Peter’s Pence, a special collection from Catholics around the world every June, is billed as a fundraising effort for the needy. The Vatican’s website for the collection, www.peterspence.va, describes it as 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.”
When asked about it last month, Francis defended this apparent sleight of hand:
“When the money from Peter’s Pence arrives, what do I do? I put it in a drawer? No. This is bad administration. I try to make an investment and when I need to give, when there is a need, throughout the year, the money is taken and that capital does not devalue, it stays the same or it increases a bit,” the pope said last month.
Go here to read the rest. Not one more thin dime.