Vatican Hides Real Estate Empire Bought With Fascist Money

The Guardian has a remarkable article about how the Vatican has taken great care to hide a massive real estate empire all over the world, all bought with money it received from Mussolini in exchange for their recognition of his fascist government prior to WW2.

Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church’s international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

Since then the international value of Mussolini’s nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m. In 2006, at the height of the recent property bubble, the Vatican spent £15m of those funds to buy 30 St James’s Square. Other UK properties are at 168 New Bond Street and in the city of Coventry. It also owns blocks of flats in Paris and Switzerland.

There are a lot of details in the article about how they did it, setting up trusts and shell corporations and using banks in Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The surprising aspect for some will be the lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions. The St James’s Square office block was bought by a company called British Grolux Investments Ltd, which also holds the other UK properties. Published registers at Companies House do not disclose the company’s true ownership, nor make any mention of the Vatican…

Research in old archives, however, reveals more of the truth. Companies House files disclose that British Grolux Investments inherited its entire property portfolio after a reorganisation in 1999 from two predecessor companies called British Grolux Ltd and Cheylesmore Estates. The shares of those firms were in turn held by a company based at the address of the JP Morgan bank in New York. Ultimate control is recorded as being exercised by a Swiss company, Profima SA.

British wartime records from the National Archives in Kew complete the picture. They confirm Profima SA as the Vatican’s own holding company, accused at the time of “engaging in activities contrary to Allied interests”. Files from officials at Britain’s Ministry of Economic Warfare at the end of the war criticised the pope’s financier, Bernardino Nogara, who controlled the investment of more than £50m cash from the Mussolini windfall.

Nogara’s “shady activities” were detailed in intercepted 1945 cable traffic from the Vatican to a contact in Geneva, according to the British, who discussed whether to blacklist Profima as a result. “Nogara, a Roman lawyer, is the Vatican financial agent and Profima SA in Lausanne is the Swiss holding company for certain Vatican interests.” They believed Nogara was trying to transfer shares of two Vatican-owned French property firms to the Swiss company, to prevent the French government blacklisting them as enemy assets.

Earlier in the war, in 1943, the British accused Nogara of similar “dirty work”, by shifting Italian bank shares into Profima’s hands in order to “whitewash” them and present the bank as being controlled by Swiss neutrals. This was described as “manipulation” of Vatican finances to serve “extraneous political ends”.

The Mussolini money was dramatically important to the Vatican’s finances. John Pollard, a Cambridge historian, says in Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy: “The papacy was now financially secure. It would never be poor again.”

From the outset, Nogara was innovative in investing the cash. In 1931 records show he founded an offshore company in Luxembourg to hold the continental European property assets he was buying. It was called Groupement Financier Luxembourgeois, hence Grolux. Luxembourg was one of the first countries to set up tax-haven company structures in 1929. The UK end, called British Grolux, was incorporated the following year.

When war broke out, with the prospect of a German invasion, the Luxembourg operation and ostensible control of the British Grolux operation were moved to the US and to neutral Switzerland.

No one could possibly be shocked by any of this, not if they’ve been paying attention.

54 comments on this post.
  1. Marcus Ranum:

    There appears no limit to the douchebaggery of god’s chosen spokesmen. None at all. They reflect ill on their boss, I gotta say.

  2. rthur2013:

    What!? You mean to tell me that the gigantic global cult which employs and defends thousands of pedophiles, operates brainwashing faith schools, shamelessly touts ignorance, sexism and homophobia, and is headed by a delusional ex-Nazi in a stupid hat…is not ethical about its funding?
    The shock!

  3. baal:

    I understand that this land is not in the US but several Dioceses filed bankruptcy to avoid or limit payments to rape victims. It certainly looks like they could have paid if they wanted to.

  4. Gregory in Seattle:

    Wow, just like Scientology.

  5. John Hinkle:

    A friend of mine used to be a Brother of the Holy Cross, a wholly owned subsidiary of Catholic Incorporated. Whenever his career turned to something professional, such as teaching in a university, his whole paycheck went to the mother ship, and in turn they would bounce back enough cash for his needs and some small amount of luxuries/entertainment. Thus he never had any savings to speak of. Who knows how many scams Catholic, Inc. has.

    BTW, he gave up the Brotherhood many years ago for many reasons, not the least of which was the internal dysfunction, and that’s characterizing it rather generously.

  6. cptdoom:

    You know, for years I defended the Vatican from the claim it was rich (the only thing about which I would defend the Vatican) by noting most of its assets were both priceless and valueless – you can’t really sell the Sistine Chapel, you know. I also remember those annual collections in Church to pay off the Vatican’s deficit. Now it turns out the damn a-holes in the Vatican were hiding nearly a billion dollars in real estate, enough to operate independently of any other donations from the people of the Church. Well, I guess there’s nothing for which I can defend the Vatican anymore. What a putz I was.

    @baal – I am quite sure that the Vatican’s finances are carefully seperated from any individual diocese’s finances, as the diocese are supposed to be financed entirely by their own donations.

  7. aaronbaker:

    I once had a (highly qualified) respect for the Catholic Church, in part because it’s the most intellectually sophisticated Christian denomination, in part because of some of its social teachings.

    I’m having a hard time now remembering what that felt like.

  8. tacitus:

    I’m having a hard time now remembering what that felt like.

    Due, no doubt, because of the ascendancy of the right-wing factions in the Catholic hierarchy both in Rome and here in the USA in recent years.

  9. jonathangray:

    What’s unethical about all this?

  10. anubisprime:

    jonathangray @ 9

    What’s unethical about all this?

    They got caught doing it!
    But it is probably par for any large international conglomerate…they move cash around in slush funds and what cannot go through ‘normal’ channels as a matter of expediency, why do they have so many corporate tax lawyers etc…it is to facilitate minimizing tax burden ostensibly.

    The thing is why were the RCC up to their sweaty little armpits in the scam…what have they got to hide?
    Not taxable income…so what was and is it?

  11. jonathangray:

    anubisprime:

    They got caught doing it!

    Doing what?

  12. anubisprime:

    jonathangray @ 11

    Doing what?

    Read the thread opening post…that might give you a clue!

  13. sillose:

    uh… what social teachings do they have that could possibly be worthy of praise? even the stuff about taking care of the poor is about winning hearts and minds for their crazy ass cause, and providing plausible cover for their shadier operations.

  14. jonathangray:

    Read the thread opening post…that might give you a clue!

    All I can make out is that Il Duce gave the Vatican a load of cash (in reparation for the illegal theft of the Papal States by a bunch of commie bandits) and the Vatican bought some property with it. What’s wrong with that?

  15. steve oberski:

    @cptdoom

    I’ve found several references to a Gruppo RE/MAX study claiming that the Catholic Church owns around 20% of the real-estate in Italy but have not been able to find the original study.

    On a related note:

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/most-under-reported-vatican-stories-2010

    In 2010, two venerable Vatican institutions, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (the department for missionary activity still known by its old name, Propaganda Fide) and the Institute for the Works of Religion (popularly called the Vatican Bank), faced accusations of financial shenanigans.

    For centuries, Propaganda Fide has been a financial empire all to itself, owning scads of prime real estate and managing large bank accounts in order to fund overseas missions. The cardinal-prefect is informally dubbed the “Red Pope,” a reference to the power and influence those resources generate. (The Italian newspaper Libero has estimated the market value of the congregation’s real estate holdings, which reportedly include 761 buildings, 445 sets of grounds, and 2,325 apartments, at roughly $1.7 billion.) Many observers have long believed that the wealth of Propaganda Fide, coupled with its near-total autonomy, made it ripe for a financial scandal, and 2010 turned out to be the year those chickens came home to roost.

  16. steve oberski:

    @jonathangray

    Nothing wrong with that at all.

    I hear that the rcc is going to sell off all that property and give the proceeds to the child rape victims of catholic priests.

    But first they are going to open of the vatican archives and turn over all pedophile priests to secular authorities.

    They’ve also promised to stop interfering in the political process to give women and homosexuals equal treatment under the law and they will no longer promulgate genocidal policies against birth control and sexual prophylaxis.

    Ha, ha, just joking, but if you can believe your first claim then you should have no trouble believing my claims.

  17. jonathangray:

    steve oberski:

    if you can believe your first claim then you should have no trouble believing my claims.

    What claim? I asked three questions and made a tentative observation.

  18. Ed Brayton:

    jonathangray wrote:

    What’s unethical about all this?

    How about taking $50 million from a fascist dictator to recognize the legitimacy of his regime, thus lending credibility to it? On top of the Concordat with the Nazis in Germany. There were a great many brave nuns and priests who risked their lives to hide and rescue the victims of fascism, but the church hierarchy was in bed with them from the start. Unethical would be the mildest thing one could say about it.

  19. d.c.wilson:

    What’s unethical about all this?

    You mean besides the part where they got in bed with one of the worst fascist dictators of the 20th century?

  20. steve oberski:

    @jonathangray

    (in reparation for the illegal theft of the Papal States by a bunch of commie bandits)

    Yes, that sounds very tentative.

    Commie bandits stole the papal states which were acquired how ?

    While we are at it, how about some reparations for me for all those Polish territories annexed by the Germans and the Russians ?

  21. d.c.wilson:

    Since then the international value of Mussolini’s nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m.

    Based on current exchange rates, that’s about 790 million dollars. That could compensate a lot of rape victims. No wonder the RCC doesn’t want anyone to know about it.

  22. AsqJames:

    What’s unethical about all this?

    You mean aside from preaching social justice in public at the same time as using every means available to avoid paying taxes? Those taxes which we (the electorates and our elected representatives in democratic countries) have agreed are the primary means by which we attempt to alleviate/ameliorate social injustice?

    I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but tax avoidance/evasion, tax shelters and off-shore bank accounts and companies have been somewhat in the news over the last year or so. Care to guess what the RCC or its representatives have had to say about that subject?

  23. Dr X:

    They also own a car wash and Dunkin Donuts near us.

  24. tbp1:

    If ever an organization were tailor-made for prosecution under the RICO statutes, it’s the RCC.

    Not that I think it’s ever gonna happen.

  25. Dr X:

    “The Guardian has a remarkable article about how the Vatican has taken great care to hide a massive real estate empire all over the world, all bought with money it received from Mussolini in exchange for their recognition of his fascist government prior to WW2.”

    I get the issue of shell corporations and subsequent secrecy, but what am I missing about the deal with the Mussolini government? As far as I can tell, this was the Lateran Treaty (the Lateran accords) settling the 60 year old “Roman Question.” It’s not a secret. The deal was an end the Vatican isolation with recognition of boundaries for the Vatican “state” and payment on the Vatican’s longstanding claims against Italy for land taken from the Papal States. Italy thereby recognized the Vatican and the Vatican thereby recognized Italy. This was about settling a longstanding political problem between Italy and the Vatican that predated Mussolini.

  26. left0ver1under:

    None of this is surprising to anyone familiar with the case of Roberto Calvi. And I’m not just talking about the vatican’s money, I’m talking about the vatican’s involvement in criminal activity.

    Calvi was the head of Banco Ambrosian, and was oreferred to as the “vatican banker”. He helped to launder the profits of the vatican and the Sicilian mafia, both of whom were conspiring in a land flipping scheme. Calvi was found murdered under a bridge in London. The lazy cops at Scotland Yard tried to claim “suicide”, but it’s hard to hang yourself with your hands tied behind your back.

    Right now, the vatican is giving cardinal Bernard Law sanctuary in the vatican, protecting him from extradition back to the US, until the statute of limitations runs out. Back in the 1980s, the vatican did the same for US cardinal Paul Marcinkus, letting him hide until the statute of limitations ran out. Marcinkus was directly involved in Calvi’s money laundering.

  27. Dr X:

    leftOver1under,

    Paul Marcinkus, yes. I was going to mention him as you began your comment, thinking don’t leave out Marcinkus. Chicago guy, out of Cicero, Illinois. Old Italian mob town going back to Capone. See more recently, the story of Betty Loren Maltese and her late husband Frank “Baldy” Maltese. Marcinkus was raised in Chicago’s suburban cradle of corruption.

  28. grumpyoldfart:

    Another scam that lasted 600 years during the Inquisitions – if a landowner was found guilty of heresy, blasphemy, or witchcraft, their land was confiscated to the church.

  29. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    All I can make out is that Il Duce gave the Vatican a load of cash (in reparation for the illegal theft of the Papal States by a bunch of commie bandits) – jonathangray/Piltdown Man

    Amusing to note that Pilty gives the lying genocidal fascist scumbag Mussolini his preferred, grandiloquent title as a matter of course; lying murderous far-right scumbags of a feather stick together, as the Vatican proved time and again during the course of its support for fascism.

    The reference to “commie bastards” is revealing too: the Italian soldiers who seized the Papal States were troops of the Kingdom of Italy, and few if any were communists. The seizure itself was no more (or less) illegal than the thousands of other acts of aggressive war that make up much of European and world history, prior to the first treaties outlawing aggressive war in general (the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, and the Charter of the United Nations).

  30. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    Interesting that Vatican City is the only surviving example of a political formation that owes its very existence, as well as its considerable financial assets, directly to a fascist tyrant.

  31. Marcus Ranum:

    Another scam that lasted 600 years during the Inquisitions – if a landowner was found guilty of heresy, blasphemy, or witchcraft, their land was confiscated to the church.

    I thought they only did that if it was drugs or driving with a suspended license.

    The Catholic Church owned something like 20% of all the land in France, before the revolution. The nobles and the crown owned pretty much the rest. You can start to see what the peasants and the middle class were so pissed about.

  32. steve oberski:

    jonathangray/Piltdown Man

    In an amusing alignment of the planets, according to Stephen Jay Gould, the jesuit priest/philosopher/woo meister Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was one of the perpetrators (along with Dawson) of the Piltdown Man hoax in yet another example church fraud and cover up.

  33. dingojack:

    Marcus – ‘No, what could the French peasantry possibly be angry about? Wasn’t that land grab legal?
    If they’re so hungry let them eat brioche!’ [/jonathangrey]
    @@
    Dingo
    ——-
    Cue ‘I’m just asking questions’ in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,,,,

  34. Pierce R. Butler:

    Dr X &/or Pilt @ # 25: … the Lateran Treaty (the Lateran accords) settling the 60 year old “Roman Question.” It’s not a secret. The deal was an end the Vatican isolation with recognition of boundaries for the Vatican “state” and payment on the Vatican’s longstanding claims against Italy for land taken from the Papal States. Italy thereby recognized the Vatican and the Vatican thereby recognized Italy. This was about settling a longstanding political problem between Italy and the Vatican that predated Mussolini.

    The Popes couldn’t make peace with poor ol’ devoutly Catholic King Humberto [that commie bandit], nor with any following Italian government from 1870 until the Fascist regime of Mussolini. During that interim, to become Pope was to incur a life sentence as a prisoner in the Vatican, compelled by deeply principled disagreement to (ahem) protest claims to ownership of Rome by refusing to accept such defiance of Divine Order as the kingdom/republic of Italy.

    Until finally someone came along that the Pope could do business with, an energetic fellow in a black shirt, willing to buy an international ally for pocket change and full access to Italy’s schoolchildren. … The rest – including a parallel Konkordat with a downright manic fellow in a brown shirt – is history.

  35. jonathangray:

    What’s unethical about all this?

    Ed Brayton:

    How about taking $50 million from a fascist dictator to recognize the legitimacy of his regime, thus lending credibility to it?

    The Lateran Treaty had nothing to do with recognition of Mussolini’s regime. See Dr X’s comments.

    d.c.wilson:

    You mean besides the part where they got in bed with one of the worst fascist dictators of the 20th century?

    Mussolini — originally an anticlerical socialist revolutionary — would have probably been a far worse dictator had he not had to reckon with the Church. And not only did many contemporaries (including Churchill) see him as a bulwark against communist revolution, he also acted as a bulwark against National Socialism for a while.

    AsqJames:

    You mean aside from preaching social justice in public at the same time as using every means available to avoid paying taxes? Those taxes which we (the electorates and our elected representatives in democratic countries) have agreed are the primary means by which we attempt to alleviate/ameliorate social injustice?

    But the Catholic Church is not an elective democracy and may not agree that taxation is the best way of alleviating social injustice. The Catholic Church can spend its money as it pleases — and probably does far more in terms of practical charitable efforts worldwide than any secular institution.

    steve oberski:

    (in reparation for the illegal theft of the Papal States by a bunch of commie bandits)

    Yes, that sounds very tentative.

    OK I’d forgotten that bit.

    the papal states which were acquired how ?

    Donation by secular potentates, I believe.

    While we are at it, how about some reparations for me for all those Polish territories annexed by the Germans and the Russians ?

    AFAIK Poland got its territories back, unlike the Papacy.

    Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    Amusing to note that Pilty gives the lying genocidal fascist scumbag Mussolini his preferred, grandiloquent title as a matter of course; lying murderous far-right scumbags of a feather stick together

    Not at all. I hold no brief for Fascism. Mussolini & Gentile’s classic statement of Fascist doctrine contains some good stuff, but also garbage like this:

    The Fascist conception of the State is all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian, and the Fascist State – a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values – interprets, develops, and potentates the whole life of a people. No individuals or groups (political parties, cultural associations, economic unions, social classes) outside the State.

    The Fascist negation of socialism, democracy, liberalism, should not, however, be interpreted as implying a desire to drive the world backwards to positions occupied prior to 1789, a year commonly referred to as that which opened the demo-liberal century. History does not travel backwards. The Fascist doctrine has not taken De Maistre as its prophet. Monarchical absolutism is of the past, and so is ecclesiolatry.

    Meh. The most you can say for it was that it wasn’t communism.

    The reference to “commie bastards” is revealing too

    I said “bandits”, not “bastards”.

    the Italian soldiers who seized the Papal States were troops of the Kingdom of Italy, and few if any were communists.

    All the same, that redshirted commie bastard Garibaldi was a useful implement in Cavour’s toolbox.

  36. steve oberski:

    Donation by secular potentates, I believe.

    Who sez it was theirs to give away ?

    Poland got its territories back, unlike the Papacy.

    Forget Poland, this is about me. I demand compensation.

    Just what would the vatican be doing with these repatriated territories ?

    And what about that Jesuit charlatan de Chardin ?

  37. Rodney Nelson:

    Garibaldi was a Communist? That would have been a surprise to both Garibaldi and the Communists. Considering that Garibaldi helped establish the Kingdom of Italy with Victor Emmanuel as king, the charge of Communism is laughable. However he was anti-papal (and anti-clerical). He actively advocated the elimination of the papacy as both a temporal and religious institution. He famously said: “The papacy, being the most harmful of all secret societies, ought to be abolished.”

  38. Dr X:

    Sorry for my comment at 25. I forgot that some people would rather know less than more if more makes the story less juicy. [/sarc] I’m not defending the Vatican, but the revelation of the deal is not a revelation and it’s just bizarre that the article was written as if the deal between the Vatican and Mussolini was a secret deal. It strikes me as some pretty crappy journalism to write a story like that and not mention that they were referring to the Lateran Accords and not mention that an array of longstanding issues were involved.

  39. AsqJames:

    jonathangray:

    AsqJames:

    You mean aside from preaching social justice in public at the same time as using every means available to avoid paying taxes? Those taxes which we (the electorates and our elected representatives in democratic countries) have agreed are the primary means by which we attempt to alleviate/ameliorate social injustice?

    But the Catholic Church is not an elective democracy and may not agree that taxation is the best way of alleviating social injustice. The Catholic Church can spend its money as it pleases — and probably does far more in terms of practical charitable efforts worldwide than any secular institution.

    But the catholic church owns and operates revenue generating properties and businesses in elective democracies. The article referenced in the original post describes how the revenue from those properties and businesses is funneled through a (seemingly deliberate) labrynthine and obscure structure of holding companies and offshore tax havens. This allows the church to avoid the taxes an ordinarily domiciled and registered company in those democracies would be liable for. All the time deploring similar arrangements made by secular institutions and individuals.

    Aside from the hypocrisy, I tend to think when any individual or corporate entity makes deliberate arrangements to avoid taxes in the jurisdiction where their revenues are generated, that is, in and of itself, unethical behaviour. This doesn’t just apply to the Catholic Church, and isn’t based on the source of the original capital or the type of activity which generates the income, (though those might be aggravating factors).

  40. democommie:

    Dear Jonathonnomothafuckin’graymatter:

    Here’s a hint: people are not laughing WITH you, chumley.

    Dr. X:

    While the Lateran Treaty may not be a secret it is apparently a little doubtful that it might have occurred at all absent Il Douchebag’s urging–that urging prompted by a less noble instinct than a yearning for justice. That the Vatican feels the need to HIDE the whole process of what they have done with that money is illustrative of their dishonesty and unscrupulousness.

  41. jonathangray:

    steve oberski:

    Who sez it was theirs to give away ?

    Well, in the final analysis, power.

    Forget Poland, this is about me. I demand compensation.

    What for exactly?

    Just what would the vatican be doing with these repatriated territories ?

    Governing them, I suppose, with a view to achieving financial & military independence from any secular power.

    And what about that Jesuit charlatan de Chardin ?

    Anathema sit.

    Rodney Nelson:

    Garibaldi was a Communist? That would have been a surprise to both Garibaldi and the Communists. Considering that Garibaldi helped establish the Kingdom of Italy with Victor Emmanuel as king, the charge of Communism is laughable. However he was anti-papal (and anti-clerical). He actively advocated the elimination of the papacy as both a temporal and religious institution. He famously said: “The papacy, being the most harmful of all secret societies, ought to be abolished.”

    I was using “commie” as a term of vulgar abuse for any leftist anticlerical revolutionary — much as leftists colloquially apply the word “fascist” to any type of authoritarian nationalist.

    AsqJames:

    But the catholic church owns and operates revenue generating properties and businesses in elective democracies. The article referenced in the original post describes how the revenue from those properties and businesses is funneled through a (seemingly deliberate) labrynthine and obscure structure of holding companies and offshore tax havens. This allows the church to avoid the taxes an ordinarily domiciled and registered company in those democracies would be liable for. All the time deploring similar arrangements made by secular institutions and individuals.

    Aside from the hypocrisy, I tend to think when any individual or corporate entity makes deliberate arrangements to avoid taxes in the jurisdiction where their revenues are generated, that is, in and of itself, unethical behaviour.

    You may have a point, although I have no faith that modern democratic governments would manage such revenues more wisely than the Church. If tax evasion by individuals or corporate entities is for the sake of personal enrichment, then it is surely unethical. Ditto if these funds went to stock a cardinal’s wine cellar or pay for an archbishop’s rent boys … but if they helped maintain works of art, historic buildings or schools & hospitals, then I can’t really see the objection. Better that than channelling public revenue to fund a modern art exhibition.

    democommie:

    Enjoy!

  42. democommie:

    “I was using “commie” as a term of vulgar abuse for any leftist anticlerical revolutionary — much as leftists colloquially apply the word “fascist” to any type of authoritarian nationalist.”

    Much like I would use, “Lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetroll” when referring to a lying fuckbag piece-of-shit douchetroll like you.

  43. AsqJames:

    jonathangray:

    You may have a point, although I have no faith that modern democratic governments would manage such revenues more wisely than the Church.

    You don’t need faith to assess how governments allocate resources. Democratic governments are, by definition, accountable to the electorate. They have audit committees, freedom of information laws and independent bodies checking up on what they’re doing and how they’re spending the tax payers’ money. If you think national resources are being wrongly allocated you have the right (some would say the responsibility) to campaign for a change. If enough people agree with you, change will come.

    98% of US Catholics use birth control methods the Vatican considers sinful. The Vatican spends time and money campaigning and lobbying to make birth control harder to get. That’s just one issue where the Vatican is in direct contradiction with the wishes and/or interests of its own members. As imperfect as democracy is, can you give any comparable disparity between a population’s interests/wishes and the actions of their elected representatives?

    As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst of all forms of government…apart from all the others”. Those others include authoritarian, theocratic dictatorships.

    If tax evasion by individuals or corporate entities is for the sake of personal enrichment, then it is surely unethical.

    Whatever the motivation, if tax evasion subverts the democratically expressed will of the people it is unethical as far as I’m concerned. I think it’s unethical to take money from US Catholics and spend some of it campaigning against something 98% of them evidently want. But the RCC isn’t a democracy, so apparently that’s fine.

    Ditto if these funds went to stock a cardinal’s wine cellar or pay for an archbishop’s rent boys … but if they helped maintain works of art, historic buildings or schools & hospitals, then I can’t really see the objection. Better that than channelling public revenue to fund a modern art exhibition.

    Most (maybe all, I’m no expert) democratic countries recognise the provision of such things as education, health care and publicly available art can be set against your tax liability. Therefore money used for such purposes need not be hidden and routed through tax havens.

    There’s a couple of rather large “ifs” in that first sentence. You say you lack faith in accountable and democratic governments (and I pointed out faith is unnecessary), but for some reason you seem to have faith in a secretive and autocratic organisation with a, let’s be honest, less than stellar record on morality as well as stated aims and interests which conflict with those of many of it’s members (not to mention non-members in the countries in which it is avoiding taxes).

    With those conditional “ifs”, you acknowledge that you don’t know how the money is spent, so it must be “faith” which allows you to be so sanguine. You believe without evidence that the RCC will spend the money they are avoiding paying in taxes more wisely than a government would. This despite your ability (however limited) to examine and influence how your own government would spend those taxes. Is that really rational?

  44. AsqJames:

    jonathangray,

    I followed your youtube link. Are you aligning yourself with someone who sings:

    Comrades, the voices of the dead battalions
    Of those who fell, that Europe might be great
    Join their song, for they still march in spirit with us
    And urge us on that we gain the national state

    Chorus:
    The streets are still, the final battle has ended
    Flushed with the fight, we proudly hail the dawn
    See over the streets, the White man’s emblem is waving
    Triumphant standards of a race reborn

    Blood of our blood, spirit of our spirit
    Sprung from that soil, for whose sake they bled
    Against the vested powers, Red front, and massed reaction
    We lead the fight for the freedom and for bread

    [Repeat Chorus]

    Hail the new dawn!
    Hail the new dawn!
    Hail the new dawn!
    Hail the new dawn!

    People who we trusted, again have let us down
    Jailing men of this nation for fighting for their land
    We will fight forever, until the end releases us
    Never gonna submit to the six point master plan [changed from "Jewish master plan" in Skrewdriver's 1983 original]

  45. democommie:

    @44:

    Oh, dear, I did not follow the link as I quit listening to any suggestions for RWA dickwads like Johnny Graymattersalylacking before I graduated high school. Thank you for confirming my suspicion that it was some pukeworthy website.

    I assume that this question:

    “Are you aligning yourself with someone who sings(?)…”

    is rhetorical.

    It should not be a surprise that a KKKristianist buttboy is, as well as being anti-democratic and anti-gay also an anti-semite.

  46. AsqJames:

    @45:

    Yep. The track Mr Gray linked to is from a 3 volume tribute to Skrewdriver on the part of “Saga”. It features such charming ditties as “Triumf of the Will” and “Klansmen Song”.

    If you’re fond of swastikas you could take a trip to skrewdriver.org, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

  47. slc1:

    Re democommie @ #45

    On another thread on this blog, fuckface Gray proclaims himself to be an admirer of the late and unlamented fascist dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco. Nothing more needs to be said about this fuckwad.

  48. dingojack:

    SLC – Well except:
    [points] Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!
    & etc,
    Dingo

  49. jonathangray:

    democommie:

    Much like I would use, “Lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetroll” when referring to a lying fuckbag piece-of-shit douchetroll like you.

    Pretty much.

    AsqJames:

    98% of US Catholics use birth control methods the Vatican considers sinful. The Vatican spends time and money campaigning and lobbying to make birth control harder to get. That’s just one issue where the Vatican is in direct contradiction with the wishes and/or interests of its own members. As imperfect as democracy is, can you give any comparable disparity between a population’s interests/wishes and the actions of their elected representatives?

    The Catholic Church’s raison d’etre is not to represent the wishes of its members or anyone else; it’s to save souls by teaching divinely revealed truth.

    I think it’s unethical to take money from US Catholics and spend some of it campaigning against something 98% of them evidently want. But the RCC isn’t a democracy, so apparently that’s fine.

    Yes, it is fine. The Church teaches what the Church teaches. Take it or leave it. If 98% of US Catholics disagree, they’re free to leave the Church. If they don’t accept Church teaching it strikes me as silly and/or hypocritical to carry on calling themselves Catholic … at any rate they’re in no position to complain where the money they put in the collection plate goes.

    democratic countries recognise the provision of such things as education, health care and publicly available art can be set against your tax liability. Therefore money used for such purposes need not be hidden and routed through tax havens.

    What good is it to anybody that the money is not hidden if it still ends up being spent on toxic rubbish like the “artwork” I linked to? I’d bet good money that a majority of the electorate would object to their taxes being spent on such things, but in our “representative democracy” their voice counts for less than that of the liberal intellectual clerisy who dominate the media and educational establishments. The clerisy’s organs of propaganda make a big noise about democratic accountability (“transparency”); but whenever popular opinion conflicts with that of the clerisy — whether over the death penalty, mass immigration and multiculturalism, membership of the EU or modern art & architecture — “protecting democratic accountability” takes a back seat to “resisting ill-informed populism”.

    I followed your youtube link. Are you aligning yourself with someone who sings:

    No, I was just jerking democommie’s chain. (Just for the record, the lyrics you quoted weren’t for the song I linked to … but no, I’m not a fascist or WN.)

  50. democommie:

    “No, I was just jerking democommie’s chain. (Just for the record, the lyrics you quoted weren’t for the song I linked to … but no, I’m not a fascist or WN.)”

    Sure you were, sure you aren’t.

    Lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetroll will be a lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetroll.

    I apologize to other Lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetrolls who might feel soiled by association with Mr. Graymatterdoneleakedthefuckouttahishead.

  51. jonathangray:

    democommie:

    Sure you were, sure you aren’t.

    Lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetroll will be a lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetroll.

    If I were a fascist or neo-Nazi, why would I deny it? Do you imagine I give a tuppenny damn what some godless commutard on the internet thinks?

    I’m a monarchist. Je donne mon âme à Dieu, mon coeur au Roy et mon cul à la République

  52. democommie:

    “If I were a fascist or neo-Nazi, why would I deny it? Do you imagine I give a tuppenny damn what some godless commutard on the internet thinks?”

    He sez, as he goes out of his way to come back and make a comment.

    You’re a fucking waste of flesh is what you are, fuckface. Go play with yourself and suck off a few of the monarchs.

  53. jonathangray:

    He sez, as he goes out of his way to come back and make a comment.

    I wasn’t replying to you. I was replying to your calumnious insinuation.

    Awww…

  54. democommie:

    Oh, dear, Mr. Graymatterturnedtofecaldirt uses the big words.

    Caluminous. tsk, tsk.

    Gee, I’m sorry, honey. But, if you’re gonna be a lying fuckbag piece-of-shit fascist douchetroll you can expect to be called one, at least here. You could solve that problem by crawling back inside your asshole, asshole.

Leave a comment

You must be