(NaturalNews) Is the Catholic Church for sale? Some critics are arguing that it may be, following revelations that the recent canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II was sponsored by big industries.
As noted by CNBC:
He has railed against the "tyranny" of global capitalism and the "idolatry of money" but even Pope Francis needs a little corporate coin sometimes -- as proven by the list of sponsors for [April 27th's] canonizations.
Reports said that an oil and gas giant, a number of big banks and Switzerland-based food mega-corporation Nestle were among more than a dozen financial sponsors of the event in Rome.
Hundreds of thousands attended the Eternal City event to see John, who was pontiff from 1958 to 1963, and John Paul, who reigned from 1978 to 2005, canonized as saints.
List of corporate sponsors to defray costs
The sponsor list was dominated by Italian firms; included were energy corporations Eni and Enel, banking company Intesa SanPaolo, and a railway network, Ferrovie Italiane.
More from CNBC:
It's perhaps an unlikely roll call of names to be associated with a Vatican event, six months after Pope Francis launched an attack on the global economic system as part of his call for a greater focus on the needs of the world's poor.
His remarks were dismissed at the time by radio talk giant Rush Limbaugh as "pure Marxism," and it forced the pontiff to reassure his conservative critics that he was not launching a political campaign. Indeed, in the Bible, Jesus regularly decries the dangers and pitfalls of coveting wealth over eternal life in Heaven.
As far as the Catholic Church itself, the institution has enormous assets. The Vatican Bank manages assets worth as much as $8 billion in worldwide investments, as well as 33,000 accounts for clergy and parishes. But its government, the Holy See, headed by the pontiff, operated at a loss of $18.4 million in 2011.
'Better than taking money out of the poor box'
In fact, that there were sponsors for the event signals Rome's perilous financial position. Facing a budget deficit of $1.17 billion this year, the Holy See was turned down in February for a large central government bailout to help pay city employees and purchase fuel for buses.
CNBC reported that Father Thomas Reese, a senior analysts with the National Catholic Reporter, said that, because such events like the historic dual canonization bring income to businesses, including hotels and restaurants, it was "appropriate that they help" finance them. "As one archbishop told me, 'You can't pay bills with holy cards,'" he added. "Having an event to which hundreds of thousands of people attend, is expensive. Better to get some corporate sponsors than to take money out of the poor box for it."