Occasionally, the Media Invokes St. Judas Iscariot

Sitting in their glittering multi-billion dollar skyscrapers, run by such humble Franciscans as Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner, multi-millionaires like Piers Morgan will wring their hand and ask of Rome “Why were these things not sold and given to the poor?”

By this, they mean “Why are art treasures, specifically dedicated to God by the artist so that any Roman beggar can see them for free to uplift his heart, not made the private property of one rich man and hidden in his villa?”  They also mean, “When will the Church start shoveling out the Scrooge McDuck swimming pool full of gold dubloons in the basement under the Vatican?”

Some reality:

Putting Things in Perspective

One often hears of the proverbial wealth of the Vatican.  An interesting comparison was made of the operating budget and the “patrimony” of the Vatican by John L. Allen, Jr.

  • Operating Budget:  (Vatican) $300 million  Harvard ($3.7 billion)
  • Endowment/Patrimony: (Vatican) $1 billion; Harvard ($30.7 billion)

Americans really need to focus on the fact that we are no longer an agrarian Protestant country who can whisper darkly about them rich sinister fancy pants Eyetalians vs us humble, hard-working po’ folk.  We are now the corrupt rich Byzantines whose ruling class hordes its wealth to buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes.  The spectacle of watching some manicured Talking Hairdo “confronting” the Vatican about its wealth while investing in Goldman Sachs and being paid a gazillion dollars to pontificate on he knows not what is one of the more sick-making pieces of hypocrisy on display in our media culture.  We Americans pay 1/300 of the Vatican’s annual operating budget to cover two nights of Joe Biden partying in Paris and London.  Joe, meanwhile, gives a whopping $369 to charity.

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  • Patricia

    Michelangelo’s Pieta, for example is located right inside St. Peter’s…no charge. The same is true of countless other priceless works of art. I enjoyed the museum, but not nearly as much as the exquisite art found in the Basilicas and churches of Catholic Rome….like Bernini’s famous sculpture of St. Teresa in ecstasy, located in a small Carmelite church accessible to anyone.