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Sep 10

Meep and Deaningful

Posted on Monday, September 10, 2007 in Rantings, Something to think about, Taboo

So there we were, me and TAT, roasting marshmallows and supping wine from plastic cups.  The river babbled loudly beside us and time became obsolete.  Conversation turned to those topics that we normally would never have room for in usual life.  A lot of shite was talked, and it was good.

We began to talk about the world, about disaster and miracle, ying and yang, religion and sacrifice.  We spoke at length about whether or not it would be hypocrital of us to christen our children and marry in a church, when neither of us would hold any belief in the questions the priest might ask us in the process of the ceremonies.  We both know and love our God, but found that ironically, it was the religion we had no faith in.

The conversation ended in mid-air, on one question. 

Let’s take it as a given that the Catholic Church is probably the most affluent entity that ever existed. 

“The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich. In the United States it has 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 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., etc. At a conservative estimate, these amount to more than 500 million dollars in the U.S.A. alone.” (THE VATICAN BILLIONS by Avro Manhattan.)

Every nun or priest that gives up their life to the church, must also give up their wealth and worldly goods.  Yet, if this poor servant of God decides to retire, they don’t get a pension, all they get is a bus fare and a handshake with which to start their new chapter. 

I was educated in a convent, and found it hilarious to see 78 year old sister Consumpta walking laps of the hockey pitch in her brand-new state of the art Nike Air-Macs.  She’d stop now and then to pump herself up, then carry on.  Her peers drove in the latest models of zippy cars, and the priest himself lived in a mansion, alone.

In fact, in almost every diocese I’ve ever lived in, the priest lived alone in a huge mansion.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to house this man in basic housing to suit his basic needs, and donate the mansion to charity… say turn it into a clinic, or a home for orphaned kids?

Think of all the little old ladies around the world who, every day, decide to leave their fortunes to their local parish! 

Think of the collection plates that are passed around in mass every day… a congregation of 70 people on average, say… all feeling obliged to throw their silver and gold into this basket of cash.  If you should turn up with empty pockets, the people in the pews around you will glare, and you might even find yourself scorned publicly in the local paper for such a sin.  Being stingy in church is not the done thing.

Think of the gold and expensive jewels which adorn the chalices and religious icons.  Think of the expensive cloths used in the ceremonies, the stocks, the gold, the paintings, the sculptures, the helicopters, the cars, the priceless artifacts…  worldwide, these individual cells are generating cash at an alarming rate, all feeding Vatican City, and the entity that is the religion itself. 

Wouldn’t it be safe to say that the net worth of the Catholic Church must run into billions? 

Wouldn’t it, therefore, be quite rational to say that the Catholic Church could make – if they chose to – an enormous dent in the national debt of Africa?

So could Bill Gates, probably.  But then again, he would have no reason to.  The church, however, and it’s literary works, tell us that the meek will inherit the earth.  They tell us to include charity into our lives wherever possible, and to love our neighbours.  Every page of the bible provides a good reason for the church to donate this cash, but instead, it is apparently being stashed somewhere for a rainy day.  It is being sat on, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how this is logical.

I must be missing something here… some vital piece of information, that will explain the answer to this question. 

I also have to stress that I don’t wish to insult anybody with these words.  I have the greatest respect for those who keep the faith without question.  I can see the wonderful things that the Church has done for developing countries through their missionaries, I just can’t see why local parishes with crumbling roofs are begging for money, when the mothership holds all the dubloons.  I have a deep respect for God, and I can see that God would have a sense of humour.  This is why films like ‘Dogma‘, and ‘The Life of Brian‘ came to be, perhaps.  Why so, does it feel like God has absolutely nothing to do with this mess?  Why does it feel entirely man-made?

If a prophet were to appear, and declare him or herself to be the second coming… would they be locked up in an insane asylum for disturbing the flow?

The conversation, as I say, ended here.  We then began to try to define the word ‘Epic.’  This is not easy in the dark in the woods with no dictionary.


Bring on the comments

  1. Grandad says:

    Sorry I didn’t drop in on you now!

    One point of clarification though – much as I despise his produce, Bill Gates does give vast sums to charity. If the Vatican gave the same proportion of their wealth, they could probably wipe out all Third World debt!

  2. Granny says:

    Don’t talk to me, missus. My Uncle Pat in Boston was the only millionaire in the family. I was called after his wife.

    They were a childless couple and he left his fortune to Cardinal Cushing of New York. I got $500 !!

  3. Grannymar says:

    K8 is ‘Elly’ your middle name?

    This piece is very much her line of thinking!

  4. Baino says:

    Too true. I’ve often wondered why Catholic churches have not one but two collections. One is for the poor, the other to suport the clergy. And you forgot to mention the amazing pieces of real estate owned by the church. We have a convent near us that sold over 500 acres for housing development, even DrummerBoy and ClareBear’s school sold off about 16 acres for medium density housing, and the Church where Nicole Kidman was married is perched on a cliff at Vaucluse, one of Sydney’s most selubrious seaside suburbs with the most amazing view of the harbour bettered only by the Giraffe enclosure at Taronga Zoo!

  5. Brianf says:

    The largest single order of Priests are the Diocisian(sp) Priests. They DO NOT take the vow of poverty.
    Why is it that we rave on about the monitary holdings of the church yet seem unable to speak of the good it does beyond a brief mention that maybe mission work is OK?

  6. K8 says:

    Da, I’d bin wondering about Bill Gates alright, fair play t’im.

    I remember you raging about that when I was a kid, ma… he should be called Cardinal Cushty!

    Grannymar, what a nice compliment :)

    500 acres?!?! By gum. There are a few beautiful spots around Wicklow that are totally inaccessible being as they’re private land, same story. Ironically, a lot of kids use them for knacker drinking. I think I’d like to be a Giraffe in the next life.

    Brian, there’s a fine line… my point being that it’s the individuals WITHIN the church that do great work, just apparently not the church itself. Mind you, all I ever hear about is the negative stuff. I’m willing to admit that my opinions are seeded from too much bad press!

  7. Conortje says:

    They are probably going to need all that cash for the payouts from child abuse cases and all that in the near future.

  8. SID says:

    We recently got a leaflet asking parishoners to “Buy a gift” for a new chapel under construction.

    Bottom of the list ~ Set of cruets £16.00

    Top of the List ~ Marble altar £25,000

    The parish has a population of a couple of thousand,so thats going to be a couple of thousand sets of cruets bought then.

    Mind you, I didn’t see a request for toasters for their new mansion.


  9. Doc says:


    Without insulting anyone I would like to note that in addition to a) doing the reletively ocassional good deed via their ministries, and b) hoarding a wealth vast enough to spark jealousy from Kubla kahn, c) the Catholic Church -as an institution on a par with individual states and governments throughout much of our more recent history- has murdered, or has caused to be murdered, more peoples than any other single enity.

    In the name of ‘God’.

    I find no ‘god’ exists expect as such we create ourselves.
    For me that would be the ‘Cosmic Jester’, she who presses down on the world with a malicious irony…


  10. K8 says:

    Conor: OUCH!! ;0

    SID: I wonder how many kids in Gambia that would sponsor?

    Amen, Doc. ;)

  11. Kate says:

    Meep, indeed. Money just ain’t fair, and ‘twon’t ever be, I think. I try, instead, to focus on the small stuff, to think about ways I can give and, perhaps more importantly, ways I can teach it to my kids. Because the big picture is just SO big, sometimes, that I can’t wrap my brain around it.

  12. erasmus ketulo says:

    i want to a diocisian priest in usa

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