I do wonder why Sarah Silverman suggestion that the Vatican sell everything to help the poor keeps getting more and more news attention? I keep seeing stories covering it via Google News. Though in a world where CNN fact checks a Saturday Night Live parody piece on the President I guess it is par for the course for the media to cover the rantings of some shock Comedienne. We of course can’t expect them to actually fact check her routine.
Though it does remind me of the story of St. Laurence and the treasure of the Church. He was captured and told to bring the treasure of the Church to his captors. The following day he brought a bunch of poor people and told them that they were the treasure of the Church. Though I have the odd feeling that this wasn’t what Sarah Silverman had it mind.
I also doubt that she thought of or even knew of the efforts in the Vatican during World War II and this notable example.
Joseph Lichten records that on September 27, 1943, one of the Nazi commanders demanded of the Jewish community in Rome payment of one hundred pounds of gold within thirty-six hours or three hundred Jews would be taken prisoner. When the Jewish Community Council was only able to gather only seventy pounds of gold, they turned to the Vatican.
“In his memoirs, the then Chief Rabbi Zolli of Rome writes that he was sent to the Vatican, where arrangements had already been made to receive him as an ‘engineer’ called to survey a construction problem so that the Gestapo on watch at the Vatican would not bar his entry. He was met by the Vatican treasurer and secretary of state, who told him that the Holy Father himself had given orders for the deficit to be filled with gold vessels taken from the Treasury.
I guess it also escaped her attention that the largest organization in the world to help the poor is the Catholic Church. That it was Catholics throughout history who via very apostolates, ministries, and personal attention have always had a preferential love for the poor. When people are in need of help they go to the door of a Catholic institution or the rectory and not the local chapter of for example the Atheist Alliance International.
No doubt she is also unaware that the operating budget for the Vatican is around $260 million compared to Harvard’s annual budget is $1.3 billion. So I guess she means we are to sell off the artistic treasures in Vatican CIty and Catholic churches throughout the world. Hey great idea. Next time France has a budget deficit they should sell off the Louvre. Yell allowing people to see these artistic treasures is a bad idea and they should be distributed around the world locked up in private collections. Well how about Vatican owned real estate – well with a total value of $1 Billion and less than Oprah’s personal fortune it won’t go very far.