Abraham Lincoln is widely acknowledged as having said: “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
I am proud to cast myself in the latter category. And because of that, I was one of the few folks who wasn’t doing the happy dance or being in awe of the Pope as he did his celebrity tour of North America.
His words rang hollow as I juxtaposed the reality of not only being the head of the Catholic Church, but also the head of Vatican City. It may be called a city, but in reality, the Vatican is its own country, formed in 1929 by the Holy See (the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome) and Italy.
Sitting on a mere 110 acres, the number of citizens is less than 1,000. Within Vatican City are the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Room along with the Vatican Library and Museum. As a country, it makes its money from tithes from Roman Catholics around the world, along with selling postage stamps, tourist mementos, admission fees to the museums, and publications. All tax free.
In truth, the Vatican is so wealthy it can’t even estimate its own wealth. The Vatican has its own bank, which has over the years had scandals, like funding priests caught up in sexual abuse and money laundering for both the Mafia and former Nazis. The Vatican itself also has over 11,000 rooms. No, that is not a typo. That is 11,000 with a “T.”
So to hear this head of state come to America to lecture us on the poor or illegal immigration forces me to ask, “What is he doing within his own country?”
On Facebook, many were quick to point out Catholic Charities. However, a glance at the budget for Catholic Charities shows that it gets the bulk of its money from the U.S. government. So while it carries the name “Catholic” in its title, the money isn’t flowing back to the charity from the Vatican like it does from our government. Once the money arrives at the Vatican, it has reached its final destination point.
The Vatican is surrounded by a 40-foot-tall wall and protected by its own army, the Swiss Guards. Those guards (all men by the way — no women allowed) are highly trained and armed. We may see them in their purple and gold uniforms looking like court jesters, but beyond the swords and halberd, they have sniper rifles, machine pistols and submachine guns. Personally I would love to see the guards’ reaction should someone try to breech the wall at the Vatican claiming they only wanted to illegally immigrate for a better life for themselves and their family.
Am I the only one to not believe the little girl breaking through the security line to greet the pope with a note about her parents who are here illegally was anything less than a setup? How come Black Lives Matter didn’t put together a similar attempt by having a young black child run up to him and propose he speak on police shootings of unarmed black people?
And when the Pope was shown going to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia, there wasn’t a black inmate in sight. Media propaganda or no black Catholic inmates?
I am also highly skeptical that at no other time in history has a papal visit to this country included speaking before Congress. Coincidence or is it that this pope has a message that the current administration wants to hear?