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Pope Francis wants Church to be poor, and for the poor

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<Francis, speaking mostly off-the-cuff and smiling often, made his comments in an audience for journalists where he explained why he chose to take the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, a symbol of peace, austerity and poverty.

He called Francis "the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man", and added: "Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.">

Well, "the poor" are a growing market, so there's that. 

Also, it's a good way to start rebuilding the church's image after an era of corruption.

What Would St. Francis Drive?

I love this new Pope already.  He drives a Volkswagen.   

Papal Paradox: When all its global properties - stretching from St. Peter's Basilica to Brazil to Old Bond Street - are added up, the Vatican's nest egg, experts say, amounts to trillions of dollars.

The Rev. Dan Vojir, a former radio show talk host who has been writing and blogging on religion and politics for the better part of a decade, says one can argue that the Vatican controls an economy even larger than that of the United States.

While that may be disputable, what's clear is that the true value of the Vatican's vast financial empire - and the opulence that goes with it - remains a tightly guarded secret.

The Vatican does not have the GDP of the U.S. but I can believe they have more accumulated wealth.

Such is the miracle of compound interest for an entity that has been saving for 2000 years.

Gold and real estate for 2000 years - imagine.  GOOG and APPL for the last decade, I wonder.   :-) 

They also have a steady income, right? Donations or investments or art or something similar?


<Government Collected Millions for Vatican

In some countries, not only does the Church evade taxation, but the state itself collects taxation on her behalf. This absurdity has been one of the most extraordinary peculiarities of Germany, which "compels" German citizens to pay a "Kirchensteuer" (Church Tax).

It was first inspired by the Weimar Constitution of 1919, and confirmed by the pact between Hitler and the Vatican in their concordat of 1933. The Kirchensteuer was made constitutional in 1949, after the Second World War. The Catholic government - that is the Christian Democrats - not only enforced the church taxation upon an unwilling populace, it put the state machinery at the disposal of the church. Thus the Government collected the tax, enforced its payment, and then handed over the money thus collected to the Church.

Before the Second World War, the German citizens used to pay an average of two or three marks a year. By 1972, the figure rose to between fifty-five and sixty marks.

In Germany, therefore, the Vatican, besides enjoying outstanding financial benefits from its skilful penetration of the giant industrial concerns (as it did in Italy and in the United States), had its coffers replenished with additional millions from the Kirchensteuer, to the tune of some 350 million dollars a year. The scheme being the result of the political Catholicism which dominated the life of post-war Germany for so long.>

Oh, there's more, much more:

VW, the driving choice of the last TWO Popes.

Comments on this link are fun.

Ha! VW seems like a sensible choice.

You might now know this about VW:

Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen marques; motorcycles under the Ducati brand; and commercial vehicles under the MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles marques.[13] It is divided into two primary divisions, the Automotive Division and the Financial Services Division, and consists of approximately 340 subsidiary companies.[14] The company has operations in approximately 150 countries and operates 94 production facilities across 24 countries. It holds a 19.9% non-controlling shareholding in Suzuki and has two major joint-ventures in China - FAW-Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen.

("Shanghai Volkswagen" needs an exclamation point to make it sound like an imperative, doesn't it?)

I didn't know that. VW is basically every German car brand I know except Mercedes and BMW.

And this is why one might want to Shanghai Volkswagen.  I find the story of Bentley under VW fascinating.

Modern Bentleys 


After acquiring the business, Volkswagen spent GBP500 million (about US$845 million) to modernise the Crewe factory and increase production capacity.[19] As of early 2010, there are about 3,500 working at Crewe, compared with about 1,500 in 1998 before being taken over by Volkswagen.[20] It was reported that Volkswagen invested a total of nearly USD2 billion in Bentley and its revival.[21] In 2002, Bentley presented Queen Elizabeth II with an official State Limousine to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. In 2003, Bentley's two-door convertible, the Bentley Azure, ceased production, and Bentley introduced a second line, Bentley Continental GT, a large luxury coupé powered by a W12 engine built in Crewe.

Demand had been so great that the factory at Crewe was unable to meet orders despite an installed capacity of approximately 9,500 vehicles per year; there was a waiting list of over a year for new cars to be delivered. Consequently, part of the production of the new Flying Spur, a four-door version of the Continental GT, was assigned to the Transparent Factory (Germany), where the Volkswagen Phaeton luxury car is also assembled. This arrangement ceased at the end of 2006 after around 1,000 cars, with all car production reverting to the Crewe plant.

In April 2005, Bentley confirmed plans to produce a four-seat convertible model—the Azure, derived from the Arnage Drophead Coupé prototype—at Crewe beginning in 2006. By the autumn of 2005, the convertible version of the successful Continental GT, the Continental GTC, was also presented. These two models were successfully launched in late 2006.

A limited run of a Zagato modified GT was also announced in March 2008, dubbed "GTZ".

A new version of the Bentley Continental was introduced at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show: The Continental Supersports. This new Bentley is a supercar combining extreme power with environmentally friendly FlexFuel technology, capable of using petrol (gasoline) and biofuel (E85 ethanol).

Bentley sales continued to increase, and in 2005 8,627 were sold worldwide, 3,654 in the United States. In 2007, the 10,000 cars-per-year threshold was broken for the first time with sales of 10,014. For 2007, a record profit of 155 million was also announced.[22] Bentley reported a sale of about 7,600 units in 2008.[23] However, its global sales plunged 50 percent to 4,616 vehicles in 2009 (with the U.S. deliveries dropped 49% to 1,433 vehicles) and it suffered an operating loss of 194 million, compared with an operating profit of 10 million in 2008.[19] [24] As a result of the slump in sales, production at Crewe was shut down during March and April 2009.[25] Though vehicle sales increased by 11% to 5,117 in 2010, operating loss grew by 26% to 245 million.[26] In Autumn 2010, workers at Crewe staged a series of protests over proposal of compulsory work on Fridays and mandatory overtime during the week.[27]

Vehicle sales in 2011 rose 37% to 7,003 vehicles, with the new Continental GT accounting for over one-third of total sales. The current workforce is about 4,000 people.

So one can drive a Bentley and still say they're riding in a VW?

And be proud, rather than humble, to say it.

I gotta remember that trick.

I'd love to know what they are doing with all of the accumulated wealth.  Truly, I have no idea.  Do they feed the poor, do they find homes and provide support to the homeless.  I do know that Jesus taught the people to take care of the poor, the sick, the homeless etc.  Is the Catholic church doing that with all the $$$ they have?  I know there are many good Catholic people/nuns that do look after those less fortunate but are they getting financial support from the bigwigs in the Catholic church or are they having to raise the funds themselves?

Those are good questions, Robyn. I hope the church has good answers.

It saddens me when I see that pic of the pope sitting on that 'throne'.  That's not what Christianity is all about.  It's not worshiping a man who is no better than the rest of us, putting him on a pedestal.  Forget all the pomp and ceremony and get back to what it's really all about....people...helping those less fortunate, being there for one another and putting others before ourselves.  I'm not just talking about the Catholic church, I'm talking about all religions that are too busy worrying about their rituals etc.  We should be focusing on what's really important.

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