Paul L. Caron

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pope Benedict to Condemn Tax Evasion

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.”

See also Catholic World News and Catholic Online.  (Hat Tip:  Mike McIntyre.)

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Tracked on Aug 26, 2007 11:00:34 PM


The Pope has said there's no place in the catechism for a pre-emptive war. Does he know how pre-emptive wars get their funding? How about taxpayer-subsidized abortions, anti-Christian public education and corporate welfare? St. Augustine called kingdoms lacking justice great bands of thieves. Is it "socially unjust" to resist them? Clearly, infallibility in faith and morals does not translate into a coherent political philosophy.

Posted by: Tony | Aug 17, 2007 8:27:05 PM

Well I guess I have a rather less cynical view of Pope Benedict's comments. I think they are courageous and more or less consistent with Church teaching on taxes and social responsibility as I and others have previously studied it. It is true that one must balance the duty to pay taxes with the Government's responsibility to impose them fairly and justly, and that liberal theologians have at times lost sight of this latter point; but I don't think that undermines the basic lesson.

Incidentally I find the hostility toward the Church in the previous postings offensive if somewhat amusing, is it now taboo to hate any group except those with religious authority?

Posted by: Michael Livingston | Aug 17, 2007 5:07:45 PM

Benedict could do some read, or even more as likely part of the brotherhood system, give us some lessons, how the really wealthy parasites let the common people work for them through the money system and hide the unmeasurable wealth in a labyrinth of tax exempt fundations.

Posted by: Matifou | Aug 17, 2007 4:43:59 PM

These are some craaaaazy comments. First, don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. I'm not sure you should call Palestinians perpetrators of their own genocide-- its kind of a reach (I assume you're accusing Palestinians because they are the largest murderer of Palestinians). Last, paying tax is not a precondition to discussing them in any civilized society.

A hortatory encyclical like this is pretty funny to me, but if it helps fix the Italian tax sieve, its useful. I've dealt with that system professionally and its a joke.

Posted by: guy in the veal calf office | Aug 17, 2007 2:45:04 PM

Wait a minute. Does the f***ing Vatican pay taxes? How many churches anywhere actually pay any taxes?

Where does this deluded dips*** get off?

As for Prodi, it's really instructive to listen to these crooks acting as if people that never voted for them, and have probably never been within a country mile of them, should work so that these whorish politicians can steal their money, as if they did anything to earn it. And (allegedly) to pay for services that a large percentage of people probably don't need or want, and never asked for.

It may not be entirely appropriate here, but this crap brings to mind one of my favorite sayings, by Denis Diderot:

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

Posted by: Big M | Aug 17, 2007 10:50:20 AM

Justin you are on point also Paul would never advised support of illegitimate authority the Pope should do some study or just mind his own buisness, like trying to stop the Palestine genocide

Posted by: Donald | Aug 17, 2007 10:27:21 AM

What about taxes that are used by tyrannical governments to kill people? Is this not a grave social injustice? I do not pay taxes for this reason, as I cannot condone the evil actions of the US government. I do so legally, by earning less that the minimum taxable income each year to maintain my exempt status. I would rather do this than earn a substantial living and be forced to fund murder.

Posted by: Justin | Aug 17, 2007 7:37:27 AM