After visiting dozens of impoverished countries over the last few years, Pope Francis has announced that he intends to give away half the church’s fortune to the poor.
This comes hot on the heels of yet more abuse and financial scandals for the Catholic church at a time when many people are wondering if the Pope has things under control.
The announcement has sent waves of panic through Vatican City as Cardinals contemplate losing their chauffeur-driven limousines and generous expense accounts.
The newly-appointed Australian in charge of Vatican finances,, Cardinal George Pell remarked: “He [the Pope] only appointed me to be a scapegoat. I’m finally getting the finances under control after all the embezzlement and stuff, and he wants to give it all away! I don’t think so, cobber.”
It’s not clear whether the Pope intends to give away half the fortune of the entire Catholic church or just that of Vatican City. The Catholic church worldwide is estimated to be worth around $200 billion. The Vatican is only worth around $15 billion. Neither pay any tax.
According to world poverty expert, Jeffrey Sachs, author of The End of Poverty, to eliminate world poverty would only cost around $175 billion. That might seem a lot but it’s less than 1% of the incomes of the richest countries in the world.
To eliminate child poverty would be considerably less.
America could eliminate its own child poverty for half the cost of the Senate tax bill. That’s Republicans for you.
In the UK,child poverty costs the taxpayer almost £40 billion each year in child services and lost income. To eliminate child poverty would cost a fraction of that. But that’s the Tories for you.
The Pope said: “We have let down the children so badly. Now we must try to make amends.”
A spokesman for the Vatican who did not want to eb named (but who was wearing scarlet robes) said: “It’ll never happen.”