Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Holy See's Presence in London

Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State to the Holy See
A facebook friend of mine today has the status "HOW EVIL CAN YOU ACTUALLY GET!" [sic] with a link to The Guardian's article on the Holy See's property portfolio in London. The guy's studying Classics at Cambridge. He's not thick. But erm... What actually is evil about this...? It's not a secret that part of the settlement with Mussolini was financial. The Papal States had been invaded in 1870, by today's standards illegally, so the pope claimed sovereignty over his territory which was now occupied by Italy. The Papal States existed since the 8th century to 1870, it was a well established part of the European political scene. To solve this problem, Mussolini signed a Concordat with the Holy See in 1929. The Holy See lost out big time in the Lateran Treaty because it lost all but the Vatican from its territory and with it, the ability to collect taxes. The money actually seems small compensation with that in mind. The Holy See is a state like any other and can spend its money as it wishes. Every government has a trading arm. Would it be evil for Luxemburg to own properties in London? The Guardian seems to be getting very flustered but I'm not entirely sure why. I'm sure any other state who had a decent sized property portfolio in another country would want to keep it quiet and since that's perfectly fine under British law, where's the problem?

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