Sunday, August 25, 2013

The pope wore Prada: where our donations really go

Those of us who were abused by priests and nuns are not rich: we have disabilities and no or inadequate medical coverage. For sure we don’t have luxuries – but the pope (past and present) uses our donations for his enjoyment.

A photograph of the pope’s desk in his private library shows a gold lamp, a gold writing tray, a gold clock – all real gold. There a Grand piano in his private quarters. The pope is dressed in silk and gold embroidered clothing. He is well fed and pampered and protected.  He has the best medical and dental care. He sits on a golden throne. Are these the “good works” that the church professes to do with our money?

The previous pope was called the “Prada Pope” named after the maker of the expensive shoes he wore. The shoes cost $640 a pair, but the pope said he got them for free. What a poor excuse – he could have asked Prada to make a few dozen shoes for poor children or homeless people instead.  

Along with slippers made of red velvet or silk and heavily decorated in gold braid with a gold cross in the middle, the pope wears a mozzetta or cape: in the summer it is red satin; in the winter red velvet trimmed with white ermine fur; and at Easter it is white damask silk trimmed with white fur. The current pope has opted for plain dress in public, but what is he wearing behind closed Vatican doors? Do popes need gold, velvet, silk and ermine before they can talk to God?

As reported by ABC News (Phoebe Natanson, 3/15/12) pope benedict had the Italian celebrity perfume-maker Silvana Casoli, create a custom-made perfume scent for him alone. Did he smell to high heaven? We know there is something rotten about a religious organization that uses donations to ensure that they live well.

It takes a lot of money to run the vatican: electric, phone and heating bills, landscaping, laundry, toiletries, supplies, etc. The vatican gardens are 57 acres of flowers, trees, lush lawns, decorated with fountains and sculptures and surrounded by stone walls –how many gardeners do they pay? The vatican fertilizer bill must be really high and we pay it. For the pope and vatican clergy there are costs for medical and dental care, clothes and shoes, substantial meals, the security of a roof over their heads. What do the abused children and devastated adults have?

The pope has insurance of his personal safety: a personal Swiss Guard with 134 men.   They are armed with small arms and the traditional halberd -- a pike with an axe on it and are trained in body-guarding tactics. So we pay for the bodyguards of the pope and his cardinals -- but they don’t guard the children and protect them from being raped and beaten by priests and nuns. The new pope Francis is an expert on distraction – he doesn’t want us to think about how they are spending our donations or the $3 billion the church has already spent defending pedophile priests. We should demand accountability before we give them another penny.