Religious profit


In one of the Popes recent speeches to the youth he said “People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it.”

In an online discussion over this speech a non-Catholic member said:

It’s all very easy to say that when the Catholic Church made (as in PROFIT) $8,516,000 after expenditure in 2000. Not bad going.

And lets not forget all the pointless solid gold crucifixes and the like. Psh, and to think there could ever be any profit made out of religion. Thank you Pope Benedict for opening my eyes!

As I was looking around I came across this page here
which said:

“So profitable was the European slave trade that the Roman Catholic Church entered the business as a grantor of commercial privilege to prevent Christian nations from engaging in fratricidal wars of access to the African Coast. Usually the Pope signed an agreement with a slaving nation which insured that nation’s right to a specific region of Africa. A fee was paid to the church for that asiento. Since no European nation exercised complete hegemony over others, the Church became–and remained for several hundred years–the primary moral sanctioner for the brutal institution of slave trading.”

The Catholic Church was paid about $25 for each captured African. In addition to paying (with interest) into a reparations fund, the millions they made in this way, it could be considered whether they–who ought to have been leading the fight against this atrocity instead of organizing it–should pay even more in penance for the shocking immorality of their actions.

Is this true? Does anyone have any thoughts or comments about the subjects and ideas these quotes bring up?



First and foremost, you need to post where these quotes came from. How is anyone supposed to answer them if we cannot read the entire quotes ourselves?

Give us the sources and we’ll let you know.


I don’t think the Pope was suggesting that one can do something immoral as long as one enjoys it. I think he was saying that whatever you do (so long as it’s morally acceptable), you should be able to enjoy your work and make a decent living.

As far as the slave trade thing, that’s so far in the past and people have come such a long way that I don’t think it’s relevant except so we learn and don’t repeat the errors of the past. There will always be people who say “Well…look what you guys did hundreds of years ago…blah, blah, blah”. Remind them about tossing stones and walk away.


I don’t know about these topics in particular, but it has been my experience that those who hate the Church have no problem taking quotes/incidents in history out of their proper context and then put their own spin on them.

In the case of the slave trade, if the Church had done nothing there would have been a wholesale slaughter in Africa, so the Church stepped in with what authority it had over the countries dealing in slaves to keep them from killing one another and each other’s slaves. I know nothing about the Church getting paid for each slave, though. Maybe an unbiased person with knowledge of the era could help you.

As for the Church making a huge profit, I think that has to be an outright lie. The Church had been running in the red for many years in the 20th century. In fact, the Knights of Columbus donated to the pope’s personal charity fund called Peter’s Pence so he wouldn’t have to take money out of it to pay the Vatican’s bills. I’d like to see the source that the Church made a huge profit in 2000.


Well, that article lists a quote from this person but doesn’t state if it’s fact or opinion. I would assume it’s that person’s opinion. If it were fact, I hope that the source for the fact would’ve been listed but there was no such thing, therefore, I assume it’s an opinion.

Anyone can have an opinion. I hold to the fact that the Catholic Church has always held for human dignity and has never sanctioned the slave trade and certainly never profited from it. If someone says otherwise, they have to produce the proof, not you (or me).

As far as the first quote - it that’s person’s opinion as well or at least some misinformed anti-catholic rhetoric. Ask them to expound further on their remark and produce proof for this accusation.


You might want to read this article on the Church and slavery:


The context of the Holy Father’s statement shows that he was clearly condemning the idea of “making a profit” out of DIY religion:

**People tend to exclaim: “This cannot be what life is about!” Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion. I have no wish to discredit all the manifestations of this phenomenon. There may be sincere joy in the discovery. Yet if it is pushed too far, religion becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion constructed on a “do-it-yourself” basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves. Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ! **

As far as the asiento, my understanding is that this was a license sold by the Spanish monarch primarily to non-Spaniards, not anything granted by the Church. Dr. Asante cites no references, so I don’t know his sources. Renaissance Spain is not my area, though.


Um where was that full quote of what the pope said found?



The “net gain” in this economic report of 2000:

Is this not profit?


As in what would our Church leaders do with the “net gain”/profit(?) in the amount of **$8,516,000?
And how does this compare with DIY religious profit?


What I am seeing here is someone using 5 year old numbers against the Church. If I remember correctly the Holy See has been running in the red for the past number of years. If fact, according to the following article:

Last July, Cardinal Sebastiani presented to the press the Holy See’s definitive financial statement for the fiscal year 2003, which closed in the red for the third consecutive year.

The year’s loss was 29.1% less than the previous year, 9.56 million euros ($11.8 million at that time) compared with 13.5 million euros ($16.6 million) in 2002, as revealed in a statement of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Holy See’s Organizational and Economic Problems, which met today.

Full Story

This means since the $8,516,000 in 2000, the Church has been loosing money.



[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica] From Catholic World News…

 [font='Verdana',Arial,Helvetica] Vatican, Jul. 07, 2004 ( - The annual budget for the Holy See in 2003 showed a deficit of 9,569,456 euros ($11,853,206)-- about 29 percent smaller than the previous year's shortfall. [/font]

[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica]The separate budget for the Vatican city-state also showed a deficit, of 8, 820,678 euros ($10,925,733). That, too, was an improvement on last year’s performance; the deficit was 45 percent smaller. [/font]

[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica]The accounts for 2003 were released by the Vatican press office on July 7. These figures are prepared for an annual meeting of the committee of cardinals who supervise the economic affairs of the Holy See. [/font]

[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica]On Thursday, July 8, Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, the president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs, will hold a press conference to present the detailed financial reports. [/font]

[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica]The budget figures show that overall income for 2003 at 203,659,498 euros ($252,262,837) and expenses at 213,228,954 euros ($264,116,044), creating the 9,569,456 -euro deficit for the year. The accounts for 2002 had shown a substantially larger deficit of 13.5 million euros. [/font]

[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica]The bulk of the expenses incurred by the Holy See are described as costs of “the service of the Sovereign Pontiff and care for the universal Church.” The figures include the salaries of 2,674 people who work within the Roman Curia, including 755 clerics, 344 religious, and 1,575 laymen. The Vatican also pays pensions to roughly 1,000 retired workers. [/font]

[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica]The budget for the Vatican city-state, which handles the temporal affairs of the Vatican, showed a much smaller deficit in 2003 than in 2002; the shortfall in this year’s figures was 8,820,678 euros as against 16,048,508 in 2002. The larger single expense for the city-state was the operating deficit of Vatican Radio. In their discussions of the budget, the cardinals who met on July 6 focused on the expenses of Vatican Radio. According to the official statement released on July 7, they took into account the need for new communications technology, and the “important and advantageous” services that Vatican Radio supplies, “especially for countries where there are limited means of evangelization.” [/font]

[font=‘Verdana’,Arial,Helvetica]The Vatican statement also pointed to a 5.7 percent increase in the receipts from the worldwide “Peter’s Pence” collection. That collection, in which Catholics everywhere donate to support the Pope and his charitable efforts, brought in 55,842,854 euros ($69,169,751) in 2003. The Vatican statement remarked that the demands on the Pope’s charity have been particularly high in recent years because of “grave difficulties caused by tensions and conflicts” around the world. [/font]


I think the last paragraph in the Zenit article you quoted is a good explanation:

"economic autonomy is for the Church the best guarantee of liberty in her mission of evangelization without dependence upon the powerful of this world; it is for this that the Holy See is not ashamed extend her hand, because it is the poor and not the rich who enjoy this auto-sufficiency. "

Next question: how much did the church give away?


I don’t know why my last post had such a jacked-up format. Hmmph.

Here’s another link to the 2004 financial report.

Cardinal Sebastiani opened the meeting with his presentation of the Consolidated Financial Statement of the Holy See for 2004. It shows an income of €205,663,266 and an expenditure of €202,581,446, with a surplus of €3,081,820.

	 This is an improvement in comparison with the balance at the end of  		the financial year 2003, which closed with a deficit.

	 Most of the expenditure is accounted for by the expenses of the  		Dicasteries and Institutions of the Holy See; each in its own capacity  		assists the Roman Pontiff in his pastoral service to the universal  		Church and the particular Churches, to promote the Church's proper  		mission in the world.


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