The Catholic church costs Italy 6 billion euros a year

But worth every penny, right? Given all the church does for child welfare, and women’s rights, and the health and well-being of people with Aids and their spouses and children, and education, and…

Well they keep the brocade industry going, at least. Do admit.

But the IHEU refuses to admit.

The findings by Italy’s Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR), a member organization of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, were published the day after Italy’s new government announced a budget filled with new taxes and drastic spending cuts.

But the spending cuts are in this world, while the Catholic church takes care of the other world, so that it will be all clean and shiny when we get to it. No worries. Happy new year.



  1. Rumtopf says

    Several countries could do with taxing all the churches, maybe save the global economy 😛

  2. Scote says

    I wonder what churches cost the US? Given their tax-exempt status, property tax-exemptions (often abused for non-whorship church property) and the tax-free housing allowances for their preachers, and that “love offerings” (donations that go directly to the preacher rather than the church) seem to be taken without paying taxes, I’d guess that the number in the US is pretty big. But it would be hard to calculate exactly, since as in Italy, researchers would have to track down all sorts of Federal, State and Local exemptions, benefits, grants, and such. Maybe someone already has info like this for the US? AU or FFRF maybe?

  3. says

    Many European countries have state or quasi-state churches (mine is one). We tend to accept this as a reasonable trade-off when we look across the pond at the US.

  4. FresnoBob says

    But they do offer good value for money – who else can we rely on to let us know when we’re getting too greedy and materialistic?

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    ImprobableJoe @ # 2: Why is Italy paying ‘taxes’ to the church?

    I suspect most of this derives from the Lateran Treaty of 1929, which resolved Vatican-Italian tensions going back to 1870, when the newly-unified nation of Italy, having gradually absorbed the “Papal States”, finally took over the city of Rome.

    For 59 years, the Church refused to accept this annexation, until at last they found an Italian government close enough to their own worldview to allow negotiations. This was the well-known Benito Mussolini administration, and the deal worked out not only established the Vatican City as its own nation-state (sort of) but also included Church influence in the national education system and regular payments to papal coffers.

    Even after Benny & pals were removed from power in the fuss ‘n’ feathers of 1944-45, nobody (with any leverage) thought it worth renegotiating said treaty, so the payments, national boundaries, schools, etc, remain much as the Fascists set them up ~83 years ago.

  6. Brigadista says

    Spain, too, pays a huge amount of money to the Catholic church, even though it is officially disestablished. Until recently we had to opt out on our annual tax forms (now you get the choice to opt in!), but as the money all came from one big state pot anyway this always seemed rather a token gesture. With direct payments to the church from the exchequer plus tax allowances (i.e. exemptions), gifts and payments to teaching staff at semi-independent schools, some calculate the figure to be as high as 10,000 million ( Scandalous.

  7. stonyground says

    In the UK the Church of England is subsidised by the tax payer and also gets to run a lot of state funded schools. Although I think that it is a crime that an atheist such as myself is actually forced by law to contribute to an organisation that I despise, the upside is that state sponsored churches and schools tend to breed religious sceptics. In effect, they are stealing my money for a cause that I oppose, but unwittingly spending it on a cause that I support.

    I would think that Italy must benefit from the tourism that is generated by the Vatican. The actual numbers are impossible to calculate but there must be some benefit. As an atheist, I would still love to see all the brilliant artwork in the Vatican but I refuse to give even a penny to the Catholic Church. So if I had to pay to get in I would feel morally obliged to steal something to make amends.


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