By Henry McRandall
As if the worldwide priestly child-abuse scandal weren’t enough, the Roman Catholic Church appears to be stooping to another new low as the Vatican Bank and its top executives come under investigation in Italy for money laundering.
That the Vatican bank should choose to get involved in money laundering should come as no surprise however.
In fact, it is merely a further extension of the church’s centuries-old practice of peddling “indulgences.” With these so-called “indulgences,” the church was in fact encouraging sin and criminality by the wealthy by implicitly advising them that they could be as evil as they wanted in their day-to-day lives and still buy themselves a seat in heaven by giving money to the church.
It was this practice of selling “indulgences” to wealthy malefactors, among other shady activities, that led Martin Luther to rebel against Rome several hundred years ago and launch what is now the equally-corrupt Lutheran Church.
And it would be a mistake to believe that the peddling of “indulgences” is a practice from the past. For most of the past century, the Catholic Church has played footsy with the Mafia – in Italy, the United States, Canada and elsewhere – and cozied up to violent drug cartels.
It seems there will always be a place in heaven for a miscreant who is mindful of the financial aspirations of the church. Or so the myth goes.
Although it has a lot of competition, the Vatican today probably stands alone as the most duplicitous, most money-grubbing, most power-seeking institution in the world. And in that reality, it probably stands as the most truly anti-Christian institution in the world.
Ever since some demented pope back in the eleventh or twelfth century mandated vows of poverty and celibacy for its priests, nuns and “Christian” Brothers, it has been caught up in the inglorious goal of making itself one of the wealthiest and most powerful entities in the world.
The goal of those two vows was to prevent wealthy clergy from dying and leaving their earthly riches to their wives and children instead of to the church. It was all a ruthless money grab.
The vows of poverty have certainly not prevented Catholic clergymen from getting rich. Let’s not forget that about 15 years ago, the wealthy Toronto Cardinal Emmett Carter stirred up a public fiasco by objecting to the construction of $500,000 homes – at a time when house prices were much, much, lower – on the tree-lined street where he lived and potentially obstructing the view from his own $1-million mansion.
Nor, certainly, has the vow of celibacy stopped Catholic clergy from being sexually active. It has merely made their illicit encounters more perverse.
But perhaps the Vatican’s worst sin today is its Pax Vaticana with corporate capitalism. Just in the past couple of decades, the Vatican banned the practice of some Latin-American clergy of indulging in “liberation theology,” the practice of organizingstarving, brutalized Hispanic poor to fight their capitalist oppressors.
Even though Jesus Christ was evidently a socialist, the Vatican embraces corporate capitalism instead.
Even though Jesus Christ was neither misogynistic or homophobic, the Vatican promotes misogyny and homophobia.
Even though Jesus Christ had a soft spot for the misbegotten and sought to feed the hungry masses, the Vatican continues to oppose the pro-abortion and pro-contraception policies that would reduce the number of children dying by the tens of thousands every day of starvation.
And now the Vatican’s bank gets caught laundering money for some of the vilest criminal in the world.
How low dare the Vatican stoop?
How low would the Vatican dare to stoop?
By Henry McRandall