Okay so it is technically not extortion in the legal sense of the word. But I don't think there is a better word for this type of thing. At this point, nothing from Benedict should surprise anyone. And this is certainly not the worst thing the catholic church has ever done. But I still found it to be profoundly sleazy.
Found via Pharyngula:
Article in The Scotsman:
"Scottish Catholics will be told this weekend that they have to make up an £800,000 cash shortfall for the cost of the papal visit.
Congregations were already asked in the run-up to the event in September to donate cash to an appeal target of £1.7 million to fund the historic first state visit by a pontiff.
How successful the Scots were in reaching this target remains unknown, as it has never been published by the Church, but church-goers are due to be told at mass this weekend the size of their share of the total cash shortfall for the visit by Pope Benedict XVI.
A collection will be held on the weekend of 6 and 7 November to try to raise the outstanding £800,000.
However, it is understood that this is likely to be just the first a series of fundraising efforts held over the coming months to cover the cost of the visit."
In other words, not enough people bought tickets to the pope's rally (I wonder why Benny might be down in the polls right now), so now they're being told they have to retroactively buy all the unsold tickets to an event that already happened.