Misconceptions about the Catholic Church’s Wealth

Is the Catholic Church wealthy enough to end the world’s poverty? Let’s check out first some facts about the Church’s or the Vatican’s wealth with these common misconceptions.

First Misconception: The Vatican Is the Catholic Church

I was guilty of this before and I thought Vatican is the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is the Vatican. But, no! The Vatican is not the Catholic Church and it does not own the Catholic Church. The Church or “ekklesia” in Greek means those who are called forth (YouCAT 121). Together we are the Church. It only happens that our Church is headquartered in Vatican.

Second Misconception: The Catholic Church Is Super-rich

The Catholic Church, as a whole, does not have one pool of wealth. So, saying that the Catholic Church is rich is simply false. In-country churches generate funds through collections, investments, donations, etc. These funds are for the poor and for evangelization, nothing else. This is the reason why we do not see any priest with a luxurious car. This is because the Code of the Canon Law (1273-1289) strictly stipulates the proper administration of goods that each local Churches should follow.

Third Misconception: The Vatican Gets a Part of the Collection Money from Each Catholic

This is simply false. When we give offerings on Sunday masses, most of it stays at the parish, only a percentage of it goes to the diocese, nothing ever reaches the Vatican.

Fourth Misconception: The Vatican Is Super-rich

The Vatican City is a country, the smallest country in the world. And like all countries do, it has to have resources of its own to be able to support itself and its causes. But the Vatican is not super-rich. It may have some wealth amounting $15,000,000,000 (15B). But this is only 0.0142% when compared to that of the United States of America. Even if the Vatican had a trillion dollars, it would still be less than 1% of the USA’s wealth. Putting it in table becomes clearer. 15 billion is extremely small when compared to these big giants.

Individuals/Org/CountryLocationWealth
United States of AmericaUSA$105,990,000,000,000
Apple Inc.USA$1,300,000,000,000
PhilippinesPHL$764,000,000,000
Jeff BezosUSA$131,000,000,000
MyanmarMMR$116,000,000,000
SETADIRN$93,000,000,000
Mark ZuckerbergUSA$62,000,000,000
Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationUSA$46,000,000,000
Harvard UniversityUSA$37,000,000,000
Giovanni Ferrero (Chocolate)ITA$32,000,000,000
Vatican CityVAT$15,000,000,000

Also, if you check the world’s comprehensive list of billionaires in Wikipedia and Forbes, you will surely conclude that the Vatican’s wealth is nothing.

So from these four points mentioned above, we can conclude that the Catholic Church, as a whole, is poor and would not have enough funds to end poverty.

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