30 September 2020

Ask Father: Giving Money to Peter’s Pence

Fr Zed's take on contributing to Peter's Pence this weekend. He says, 'Speaking personally, I cannot see myself contributing anything to Peter’s Pence, ...'

From Fr Z's Blog

From a reader…


Father, I keep hearing about Peters Pence.  The Vatican is misusing the collection.  Can a Catholic give to Peters Pence in good conscience?

Modern Peter’s Pence started in the time of the Papal States.  People were asked to contribute for support not just for their parishes or dioceses but for Rome, “the Vatican”.  Eventually the collection was to be used for philanthropy.

Remembering always that money is fungible, nevertheless there have been problems lately with how Peter’s Pence has been applied.

Recently, we heard of the dressing-down of Card. Becciu (is he a Cardinal or isn’t he?) for using Peter’s Pence to buy luxury real estate in London and to fund a movie about openly homosexual Elton John.  It is hard to understand either of those moves as “philanthropic” or as related to the operation of the Roman Curia… the wholesome operation, that is.

It could be argued that because the Vatican City State has very little income, therefore Peter’s Pence has to be invested so as to create funds the Church can work with.  Okay.  But flats in Sloane and Elton John?   And how was the money handled?

No, this is very bad indeed.

Consider also the nightmare stories about money that Card. Wuerl and Mr. McCarrick were involved with through the Papal Foundation.

Speaking personally, I cannot see myself contributing anything to Peter’s Pence, no matter how plaintive the plea.   I now need some evidence that the right people are handling the money and that it is going to things that can be explained with a straight face.

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