Friday, August 17, 2007
From the Times of London: Pope Set to Declare Income Tax Evasion "Socially Unjust" by Richard Owen:
Pope Benedict XVI is working on a doctrinal pronouncement that will condemn tax evasion as “socially unjust”, according to Vatican sources. In his second encyclical – the most authoritative statement a pope can issue – the pontiff will denounce the use of “tax havens” and offshore bank accounts by wealthy individuals, since this reduces tax revenues for the benefit of society as a whole. ...
This week the Italian centre-left Government of Romano Prodi began a concerted crackdown on tax evaders, saying that it would target individuals with second homes and other signs of “conspicuous wealth”. If the black economy is included, unpaid taxes amount to 27% of Italy’s gross domestic product. Mr Prodi, a devout Catholic, urged church leaders to speak out on tax evasion, telling the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana that a third of Italians heavily evaded taxes, which were needed to plug Italy’s huge budget deficit. “Why, when I go to Mass, is this issue almost never touched upon in homilies?” Mr Prodi asked, adding: “If memory serves, St Paul exhorted the faithful to obey authority.”