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Italy plans to tax Vatican on commercial properties

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17072211?

Italy’s Catholic Church faces an annual multi-million euro bill over government plans to strip it of its tax-exempt status.

Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced the Vatican must pay taxes on non-religious property, from which it previously enjoyed an exemption.

The annual cost could be up to 720m euros ($945m; £598m) according to municipal government bodies.

Italy’s Catholic Church has 110,000 properties, worth about 9bn euros.

It includes shopping centres and a range of residential property.

In December, the government reintroduced a tax paid by anyone who owns land or property in Italy – which the Church does not pay.

But a growing wave of Italians are opposed to what they see as special privileges in the face of a tightening economy.

Following their government’s latest austerity measure package, more than 130,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Church’s tax exempt status to be revoked.

Since 2005, church-run groups and organisations have not been classed as official commercial bodies and have been exempt from paying property tax.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, tax authorities will calculate how much of a property is used purely for religious purposes and tax it proportionately.

This means a church would remain exempt but a chapel which operates an hostel would pay tax accordingly.

Earlier this week, new figures showed Italy has entered recession, after two consecutive quarters of growth between July and December 2011.

Infinite Torture for Questioning Infinite Love?

Shane’s transcript:

Dear Benny, hi, how are ya? Love the hat by the way.

You may not have noticed but I’ve been absent for awhile,
I wanted to tell you why and how i’ve been finding my own style.
A new way of looking at the world beyond the errors of the past.
You see ive read all of your teachings and cant see how theyll last. Where angels feared to tread has now become the beaten track
but for every step that we took forward, the church took two steps back.

It took you four hundred years just to pardon galileo,
while the murderer of hypatia still enjoys his saintly halo.
It was these hypocrisies of the church, that drove me from the flock though I still clung to the ideas and kept some belief in stock
that Jesus really loved me and god was close at hand
and the day was fast approaching when we’d find the promised land.

When people could stand together and colour wouldn’t mean a thing
but i slowly began to realise, thats not the message that god brings. He constantly plays favourites setting nations against each other tearing apart families, pitting brother against brother.
The jew and the gentile, the muslim and infidel,
the terrorist gaining heaven while their victims go to hell.

This god isn’t worth my worship or the thanks that he demands,
and things have gotten so much better now the powers in our own hands. Life expectancy has tripled, smallpox has been made extinct.
Our eyes pierced the veil of heaven and what was hazy is now distinct. A cacophany of symphonies all composed in mathematics,
a ballet of matter and energy performing cosmic acrobatics.

Why didn’t your book tell me I was born of a supernova.
Instead demanding belief in what an ancient madman told ya.
Houses can’t catch leprosy, epilepsy’s not possesion
and when it comes to sex what the fucks with your obsession
with what grown men and women do in the privacy of their own home.
Why do you care where they put it? You’ve got problems of your own.

You let suffer the little children while the paedophiles protected, the people wanted a shepard but its a wolf that was elected.
You spread disease and misery with every denial of tested science
so people remain upon their knees out of terror and compliance
so please excuse my harshness after breaking religions spell,
and if by chance your god is real, i’ll save you a seat in hell.

Happy Blasphemy Rights Day!

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” Mark Twain

Quick thought about morality

Religious morality:

  • Do what God tells you, even if it’s an immoral act (e.g. murder your son/daughter) because, “his ways are greater than ours”.
  • Don’t do what God tells you not to because he really hates people making fun of him.  I guess being God means you can’t have a sense of humour.
  • Why?  Because might makes right.
Moral morality:
  • Do no harm.
  • Why?  The world is a much nicer place to live in for everyone.
Believers, and many non-believers, draw a connection between religion and morality as if you can’t have one without the other.  Religion doesn’t deal with morality at all.  It deals in sin, which crosses moralities path on a few points, but ultimately has very little in common with it.

Religion brings people together…

…as long as everyone adheres to only one religion, otherwise all bets are off.  Religion divides people.  It divides people more than any other force on the planet.  Why is it so hard for people to see that?  Christians are all connected with their faith in the risen Christ, except they’re not.  There are thousands of different versions of christianity and they all think the others have it wrong.  It’s easy for the Pope to meet with Jewish and Islamic leaders and make small talk about being united in faith, but when it actually comes done to it, they are completely opposed to each other.

I wonder how many of you Christians realise why there are so many variations.  It’s simple really, one church splits into two when they don’t agree, which then splits into four, and so on.

Religion is the great divider.

Interesting local news to make my point: Orange Order action over UUP attendance at Kerr funeral

Those of you who are not local to Northern Ireland may not be familiar with Ronan Kerr, the Catholic Police Officer who was killed by a car bomb.  The story in a nut shell is two high up members of the Orange Order (Protestant/Unionist) attended the Catholic funeral out of respect.  For this Mr Elliot and Kennedy have my respect for their humane act which goes counter to their religious conviction which denies them the right to attend any Catholic Masses.

For showing an ounce of humanity they now face disciplinary hearings.  Don’t tell me religion and faith brings people together.  It never has, and it never will!  Unless you count bringing people together in confrontation!