Holy shit, this will be fascinating to watch: the Pope is actually calling on churches to help the poor and needy — you know, like actual servants of the community — or cough up some taxes like the rest of us. Apparently many churches in Europe are making money by renting out their spaces, but they’re turning away poor refugees because there’s no money to be made there. For years I’ve thought American churches should pay taxes since they seem so interested in having a political influence (Prop 8 being a famous example), but this rental thing is something I wasn’t aware of. As George Carlin wisely said years ago: tax them on their real estate holdings, because the Catholic church alone would wipe out the federal budget deficit.
Anyway, this kind of “help those in need” scolding might just get this Pope booted from the Vatican. On many issues he’s not exactly going down the same tired path as previous Popes who were determined to stay firmly rooted in the Dark Ages thinking. I wonder if they’re already planning for his replacement. He might want to start riding that bulletproof Pope Mobile to the office…
ROME — On the eve of a trip to the United States, Pope Francis has called himself a “son of immigrants” and confirmed the point by issuing a blunt warning to any religious orders in Europe that spurn his recent call to open their doors to refugees because they want to make money off their properties instead.
Go ahead, the pope said, but be ready to pay taxes just like everybody else.
“Some religious orders say ‘No, now that the convent is empty we are going to make a hotel and we can have guests, and support ourselves that way, or make money,’” the pontiff said.
“Well, if that is what you want to do, then pay taxes! A religious school is tax-exempt because it is religious, but if it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbor. Otherwise it is not fair business.”