No Peter’s Pence

On June 29th, Catholics around the world collect the so-called “Peter’s Pence” to provide financial support to the pope and the Vatican. This year, it’s time to cut off the money supply to the corrupt institutions of the Vatican - and the German Catholic Church has to rally in support of the pope’s attempts to quell corruption.

We’ve got a real scandal on our hands: The papal household has exposed a whistleblower, and just like a good crime novel would have it, it is the Pope’s butler. The last butler who created a comparable stir was employed by Lady Di and angered the British royal palace by passing along private information about the Princess of Wales. But this scandal is more important and potentially more destructive that the revelations about the House of Windsor. The Vatican’s scoundrel leaked the private mail of the pope himself to the press.

At the same time, the pope has come under fire for an issue that has received little mention on this side of the Alps. When Joseph Ratzinger ascended to the papal chair as Benedict XVI in 2005, he vowed to reign in the endemic corruption that has engulfed the Vatican like a malignant cancer.

During the pontificate of John Paul II, corruption blossomed as if the reformation had never happened and the Borgias still practiced incest in the Apostolic Palace. The talk in Rome is that simple administrative tasks could be bought for 10,000 Euro. A photo op with the pope could also be purchased if one was willing to spend lavishly. It might not be immediately obvious why someone would agree to such a deal, but a photo with the pope can help to drive up a company’s business and improve a businessman’s reputation in Italy and other Catholic countries.