Baby steps

Well that’s one good thing.

The Vatican, which previously enjoyed an exemption, must now pay taxes on its commercial properties, the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, has announced.

Like anyone else. Why did it enjoy an exemption before?

The state has been exempt from paying property taxes since 2005, one of severalĀ  fiscal perks enjoyed by the Catholic Church and introduced by the BerlusconiĀ  administration.

Ah! Of course. One autocrat doing a favor for another. Naturally.

The Vatican owns 110,000 properties, including shopping centres andĀ  residences, which are collectively worth about $12 billion, the BusinessĀ  Insider said.

As Italy tightened its belt to deal with the financial crisis, more thanĀ  130,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Church’s tax-exemptĀ  status to be revoked, it said.

”This is a victory for public pressure,” Mario Staderini, the leader of theĀ  Italian Radicals party, told The Independent.

”We’ve managed to break down – a little bit – the wall protecting theĀ  Church.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day.


  1. Deepak Shetty says

    Commercial properties were untaxed? That’s a new one. So much so for Render unto Caesar. I guess we should just add thou shalt be a hypocrite as the 11th commandment and be done with it.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    From the linked story: The announcement comes as the Holy See launches an official investigation into a series of embarrassing leaked documents suggesting there was a plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI.

    Does this come from the current Bertone scandal, or another one?

  3. says

    I’m not altogether optimistic about this. I hear they’re already buying time, and these reforms will go into effect in 2013, giving them a window of opportunity to put pressure on the government (remember the crucifix ruling of last year, which seemed so certain?) or for the Monti gov’t to be replaced by a more “friendly” one, etc…so far the church has been silent on the issue, which usually means they’re plotting their next move. And then there is just so much more to do afterwards – this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. davidct says

    The church may still win this round but they are losing the younger generation. If they cannot hold the youth of Italy their power will continue to weaken. The church is in a no growth situation and they have known this for a while without being able to change the trend.

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