“Sell the Vatican – feed the world!” It’s become the popular way to protest the church due to a misconception that the value of Vatican owned property is great enough to feed world’s hungry. This short sighted solution (which is obviously a thinly-veiled insult) would actually hurt the needy rather than do any good. Here’s why.
How much do you think the Vatican is worth? Some estimate its value at more than $900,000,000. Fair enough. Heck, let’s even round it up to a cool billion.
In 2010, the Vatican gave five billion dollars in charitable aid. In just one year. (Some estimates bring this amount even higher.) That’s what the Vatican does, each year, for the needy. If giving that amount annually does not “feed the world” then a one-time donation of one billion dollars will only be a drop in the bucket.
Pope Francis has recently upped the ante. He just decided that his employees don’t need annual bonuses, anymore, and is giving that money to charity. (I assume you do the same thing when you get a bonus or you wouldn’t be criticizing the church…right?)
The Vatican is donating billions of dollars every year to the poor. Removing the institution would be catastrophic for the many people who depend on that organization for their basic needs.
Besides, have you ever actually been to the Vatican? It’s a museum. It’s full of valuable things because they are stored there for people to see. I notice that no one’s asking the Smithsonian to sell their stuff, even though they have over 500,000,000 dollars in collectible coins and a space shuttle that is worth billions. (Should we change our cry to “Sell the Smithsonian?”) The Vatican museum draws visitors from all over the world who help feed the hungry when they buy tickets and leave donations.
If you care about fighting poverty then don’t ask the Vatican to close down, because you should be thankful for them. A lot of people are.
Update: Moments after posting this, my pastor texted me to say that I had left out a few zeroes on one of my numbers. It has been fixed. Thanks, Grant!
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)