It’s my view that the ostentatious Christian religions would have been obsolete in Europe decades, if not centuries, ago if it wasn’t for an incredible array of taxes and government grants and funding. It’s a mixed blessing because I like classical church architecture and organs.
But we have to be practical and today former Catholic countries such as Spain and Italy have incredible stresses in them: high levels of tax evasion and avoidance, systemic unemployment especially in young people, inefficient workplace practices, systemic political corruption and yet high church state funding but low church attendance.
These two countries are in transition but Spain is particularly unusual example as it actually has low Government debt so it potentially can work its way out of its current problems but for a number of historical entrapments. One of these is the stranglehold the Catholic church has on “charity”.
Two years ago the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) claimed that the Catholic Church in fact saved the Spanish government billions of dollars per year in social service expenditures. They claimed that they received about 252 million euros per year from voluntary taxpayer contributions (a 0.7% income tax). They claimed that the rest of its income is through private donations.
Is that true though because the Catholic education private schools that follow the State curriculum get about 3.8 billion euros. The 30,000 people who teach Catholic religion in the State schools or those private schools cost around 550 million euros per year. Tax exemptions on council and building taxes amount to 900 million euro lost to the state. The church gets around 300 million euro a year for the maintenance, renovation and upkeep art and real estate. And so on.
The Spanish organization Europa Laica (Secular Europe) estimates that the taxes, subsidies and direct grants to the Catholic church are at least 6 billion euros.
So which should you believe ? Well lets see how we can believe the Spanish Episcopal Conference that they save the Spanish government billions by receiving 252 million euros and yet spending 2.8 billion euros per year on assistance programs (thus getting 2.5 billion in donations) or that they receive up to 6 billion and spend half on assistance programs and the rest on whatever like administration costs.
Sorry but the Spanish Episcopal Conference is probably lying as what they say makes no sense whatsoever !. Where does this 2.5 billion euros extra come from ? Charitable giving ? Unlikely because Spain has some of the lowest charitable giving in Europe. The World Giving Index – published by the Charities Aid foundation – used Gallup surveys of 195,000 people in 153 nations across the world and asked people whether they had given money to charity (or if they had volunteered or helped a stranger) in the last month and the results of March 2011 has Spain as only 25% giving to a Charity.
I’m not blaming the Spaniards here because their Charitable giving is already taken as taxes to the tune of many billions plus with something like 25% of the working population unemployed including just over 50% of the youth then the society is clearly not working and doesn’t have the money to spend.
So the Spanish taxpayer really has to think about if giving pretty well all their charity to the Catholic church is actually doing any good for society or is the money being consumed on increasing the wealth of the Church whilst their society bleeds to death ? The Catholic church appears to be ripping the same set of bandages off one victim and slapping that on the wounds of another victim and then claiming that they are doing good whilst keeping a majority share of the wealth for itself to provide this service.
Every single Spanish taxpayer is funding this divinely inspired Charity of Avarice. The problem isn’t the euro – you don’t have any euros because you’ve been giving what few you have to a group that isn’t working for Spain but for itself.
You may be out of work but you still have a voice. Isn’t it time your hue and cry fells these Walls of Jericho that have been built of your flesh and blood ?