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The "Moral Clarity" of the Pope
by Daniel Newby, April 20, 2005

Politicians and news agencies around the world have gone wild celebrating the greatness of the new pope, Joseph Ratzinger.  He has been adored by president George Bush as a, "man of great wisdom and knowledge." According to Utah's Deseret News, he is a man of "moral clarity".
Sources:  "Americans react with praise, concern," Tom Kenworthy, USA Today, 4/19/2005; "A pope with moral clarity," Deseret News, Apr. 20, 2005.

Is this kind of praise deserved?  How does the pope's character appear when one considers the MEGA-BILLIONS of dollars the Catholic Church receives annually through:

  • "Kirchensteuer", or church taxes, in Germany (which amounted to approximately 4.7 billion in 1995 or 8 or 9% of taxable income, of which the government scoops off 3-4%)?

  • Direct government grants in Belgium?

  • Check-a-buck-type programs in Spain and Italy?

  • Government subsidies here in the U.S.?
    Source: See, for example, "In Europe, 'church taxes' not unusual," John L. Allen Jr., National Catholic Reporter Online, 1/29/1999, or examine president Bush's "Faith Based Initiatives" subsidy program.

Is it truly ennobling and moral to fill one's coffers with tax subsidies?  Aside from the fact that petty thieves frequently operate without the assistance of government, precisely how is the pope different?  And by praising this pope, what moral and political messages are we sending to the already-confused youth of the world?

Many of our forefathers, through hard experience, saw through the sophistry, the grand airs of pretended benevolence, and the convenient fist of government that religious organizations and figureheads utilized to leech the people.  Rather than remember, it appears that the sky is the limit to one's popularity if government dispensations are involved.



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