The Primate Diaries

Sell the Vatican, Feed the World

You know, it could work. Consider the Vatican’s net worth as reported by Paul Velelli in the London Independent:

• The Vatican Bank, Istituto per le Opere di Religione, manages £2bn of assets. It does not reveal its profits or dividends, which are paid directly to the Pope. It enjoys the status of a central bank and has a dealing room adorned with crucifixes and papal portraits where 20 traders work.

• Despite the Vatican’s assets, including the art collection in the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, it relies heavily on support from American dioceses.

• The Pope owns more than 1,000 apartments in Rome. The Vatican’s property portfolio made a profit of 25.7bn lira in 1998, equivalent to about £10m at the time.

• The Vatican had a balance of 2.5bn lira in 1998, then worth about £1m. It had expenses of about 336bn lira (£106m) and income of about 338bn lira (£107m).

• The 2,500 officials of the Papal curia have a combined salary bill of 140bn lira (£44m).

• The 20,000 parishes in America had revenues of $7.5bn (£5.18bn) in 2000, of which $6.5bn went to cover expenses and $1bn subsidized Catholic schools.

• In the 1980s the Vatican Bank was forced to pay $241m for its part in the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano. Roberto Calvi, who had been advising the Vatican over its dealings with the bank, was found hanging from a rope beneath Blackfriars Bridge.

• Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, the man tipped to be the first American Pope, has been building a new cathedral for the past four years. The cost is now estimated at almost $200m.


  1. #1 Joâo Carlos
    October 11, 2009

    Good idea! BTW, why not sell Las Vegas too?…

  2. #2 BrianX
    October 11, 2009

    Selling is too good for them. They’d have so much liquidity that no one could ever touch them again.

    I’d rather have Italy abrogate the Lateran treaty and send a couple of brigades of Carabinieri in to seize the property. The Church would be allowed to continue, but only as dictated by Italian law; the Swiss Guards would be disbanded or deputized, and ex-Catholics around the world would giggle and gloat.

  3. #3 Phil
    October 11, 2009

    Perhaps I could take it more seriously if it wasn’t the famous racist Sarah Silverman who specializes in anti-Asian jokes.

  4. #4 Azkyroth
    October 11, 2009

    Why not just eat the clergy? ^.^

  5. #5 Bob O'H
    October 11, 2009

    BrianX – interesting idea, but would you really want the Vatican in Berlusconi’s hands too?

    Actually, I wonder. Does he have to give half of Italy to his wife when they get divorced? Who will get AC Milan?

  6. #6 atomjack
    October 12, 2009

    For a bunch of guys who think they are going to get their reward elsewhere, there sure seems to be a large interest in this world’s wealth. The rcc should sell that worth and help the people in THIS world.

  7. #7 Corey Mondello
    October 12, 2009

    Maybe is Priests were not allowed to rape children for so long, the Catholic Church would not be losing millions of dollars in settlement pay-outs, and closing down schools effectively losing more “donations” and losing patrons/members in general.

    They are too bust canonizing dead people, 5 just recently, and attacking condom use and non-Catholic colonizers.

  8. #8 Gallimaufry
    October 12, 2009

    what a silly idea. less than 2% of priest were involved in child molestation, less than 7% were children, no more than the Church of England in Canada or the bible beaters in America….and it is their money therefore their problem with God….considering Europeans give little to charity compared to Americans….we do a great job actually feeding the poor….the problem for instance is not food in Africa, it is their own leadership in Africa that is the problem…stealing food for villas in Switzerland and Italy and Swiss bank accounts….but we still suffer from white racism…white Arabs killing black Africans in Sudan

  9. #9 HRE
    October 12, 2009

    So mnay people hate the church it scares me. The movement for devil worship is so strong. People talking hatred of the church will result in realization of the horrors only whispered or implied in Halloween. Lies by the devil worhship movement propulgate hatred of the church. I hear they are planning to nuke the Vatican. Then, who will feed the people? Feed them Cadbury bars and Eukanuba… melamine. Let the New World Order start tsunamis with nuclear bombs. Let the Kennedy’s commit human sacrifice of everyone who doesn’t think they should be real Kings. Let the jet set poison our minds with sinister programming. Let the blue bloods add human sperm to snake eggs and germinate a serpent army. This is disgusting talk. STOP IT!

  10. #10 Rob W
    October 12, 2009

    Sounds like a solid idea to me, though yeah… let’s not get Berlusconi involved: it turns out that he’s the most persecuted man in the history of the world, so I’m guessing he’s too busy to deal with any new tasks.

    @HRE: Satan-worshipers, eh? Where’s that, now? I can probably speak for every atheist that we are NOT interested in avoiding worshiping one silly imaginary magical being in favor of worshiping ANOTHER, even sillier imaginary being who’s also portrayed as being mean & nasty ALL the time, instead of just some of the time. I’m sure you can find teenagers who pretend to worship Satan while playing their death metal so loud it rattles their tongue piercings… but are there actually any adults who worship Satan? Seriously?

  11. #11 Josh A
    October 12, 2009

    Hmm… Great idea! Sell the single largest charity and supplier of food and humanitarian aid in the world! Oh my days! The sheer stupidity of people. It is amazing, innit?

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