Mr Abe Arganiosa
Mr Abe Arganiosa, a Catholic priest and blogger recently published a blog entitled “Katanungan tungkol sa pananalapi ng Vatican (Question about the finances of the Vatican)”. He was supposed to be responding to a comment by an anonymous poster but curiously, instead of answering the questions with facts Mr Arganiosa started attacking the Iglesia Ni Cristo. This really doesn’t surprise me as Mr Arganiosa is one of many Catholic bloggers on a smear campaign against the Iglesia. Sadly though that’s all they’re capable of and none of these so called Catholic defenders will ever face an Iglesia Ni Cristo minister in a face to face debate. I can’t blame them since they can’t even defend their doctrines in forum debates.
Anyway, Mr Arganiosa started out his blog with a photo of what he wrote was the Vatican Museum. It was really impressive, very neon like and honestly looked like something you see in Las Vegas. Curious also the caption “Meron ba ang mga (derogatory remark) nyan? Ha, ha, ha…Mamatay sila sa inggit!”. Roughly in English this translate to “Do the (derogatory remark)? Ha, ha, ha…Let them die of jealousy!”. Shocked? Surprised? I was. You wouldn’t expect this kind of speech from a so-called “man of the cloth“. But Mr Arganiosa is not you regular “spiritual leader“. Nope. He’s of the Eli Soriano kind that is, they don’t guard their mouth. The same mouth they used to supposedly speak the words of God is the same mouth they use to slander, malign and derogate whom they perceive as their enemy. So much for loving you enemy. Anyway, as we try to ignore his abusive behaviour let’s see what Mr Abe has to say about the Catholic finances.
Vatican wealth? Investments
He said the Vatican is not the wealthiest of countries. While this may be true the Vatican is not poor either. And unlike purely religious organization such as the Iglesia Ni Cristo, the Catholic church is an investment machine! Very true. The Catholic church invest just like any corporation. In 1965, Time published the following:
Bankers’ best guesses about the Vatican’s wealth put it at $10 billion to $15 billion. Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market. The Vatican has big investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction, real estate. Dividends help pay for Vatican expenses and charities such as assisting 1,500,000 children and providing some measure of food and clothing to 7,000,000 needy Italians. Unlike ordinary stockholders, the Vatican pays no taxes on this income, which led the leftist Rome weekly L’Espresso last week to call it “the biggest tax evader in Italy.”
Impressive! And that is in 1965. For a country with a population of less than a thousand that’s a lot of money! Aside from the investments the Vatican also makes money by charging admission to that museum Mr Arganiosa talked about not to mention tourist dollars and sale of postage stamps and mementos. One could say it has self generating income much like any other tourist destination. Admission to the Vatican Museum is € 14,00 about the same as the Hollywood Wax Museum.
One would think that with all these wealth the Catholic church would be able to help it’s needy members for something as essential in the practice of religion as a chapel. After all, Diocese do indeed send money to the Vatican however small that money is it still adds up over the years. But does the Vatican help out small Catholic congregations for such essential need as financing the building of a chapel where the faithful can practice their faith?
Drug money funds chapel renovation
Drug addiction ruins lives
In October 1995 a series of news articles rock the religious world when a Mexican bishop of the Catholic Church admitted to receiving money from drug traffickers. And he wasn’t shy admitting to it but was actually proud. He argued that the money is “purified” once it passes through the parish doors! Catholics can rationalize anything and had done it all throughout history. From burning innocents during the Inquisition to in action in World War II and now by accepting money tainted by the blood and wasted lives of souls who fell victim to drugs sold to them by the very benefactor of the Catholic church. The newspaper account goes like this
Tainted Church cash rocks Mexico
AP, MEXICO CITY
Thursday, Oct 06, 2005, Page 7
When a Mexican bishop told reporters recently that drug traffickers often donate to the Catholic Church, shock waves ran through this predominantly Catholic nation, not because the news was a surprise, but because admitting it was tantamount to confessing that nothing is sacred — not even God — when it comes to organized crime in Mexico.
Provoking the uproar were declarations by Bishop Ramon Godinez of the central state of Aguascalientes, who remarked earlier this month that donations from drug traffickers are not unusual, but that it was not the Church’s responsibility to investigate. He argued that the money is “purified” once it passes through the parish doors.
“Just because the origin of the money is bad doesn’t mean you have to burn it,” Godinez said. “Instead, you have to transform it … We live on this, on the offerings of the faithful.”
Then again in 1997, another report came out concerning the same issue that is the Catholic church taking money from drug traffickers.
October 21, 1997
DRUG LORDS BUY WAY INTO CHURCH’S HEART
MEXICO: PRIEST’S PRAISE FOR TRAFFICKERS BRINGS ‘NARCO-CHARITY’ INTO OPEN. BISHOPS DENY TAKING FUNDS BUT SAY THEY WON’T POLICE COLLECTION PLATE.
MARY BETH SHERIDAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
DATELINE: BAMOPA, Mexico
Abelino Ortiz needed a miracle. The farmer, a devout Catholic, had rallied the peasants in this mountain village to build a chapel, but the project was short of cash–until the local drug lord happened by, briefcase in hand.
“He threw out 100,000 pesos,” then about $ 3,500, recalled Ortiz, sitting on his porch overlooking the tiny red-brick church he built 15 years ago. Because of Rafael Caro Quintero, a local boy who had become Mexico’s marijuana king, the people of Bamopa could now praise God.
Caro Quintero is now in a Mexican prison, convicted of drug trafficking and the murder of Enrique Camarena, a U.S. drug agent. But in Bamopa, he enjoys a saintly status. “The good memories he left will not be erased,” Ortiz said.
And there you go. I’m sure Mr Arganiosa would be able to come up with a rationalization of this shameful acts. He might even disown his Catholic brethren and of course he would again aim his diatribe at the Iglesia Ni Cristo complete with slander about the Iglesia’s leaders. Nothing new as he has always done the same in the past. But one thing is also sure: The Vatican where the Catholic hierarchy lives has enought money to fund a small chapel in Mexico but elected not to, forcing a poor constituent to take money from a criminal. So much for a shepherd taking care of its flock.