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The Pope is not only the shepherd of a billion faithful. He is also the head of a business empire of global dimensions that employs millions of people. The Holy Roman Church owns hospitals and universities, gold stocks and works of art of inestimable value. It attracts donations from all over the world, owns huge swathes of very expensive real estate both in the USA, in Italy and in some very surprising places. Today, the Catholic Church is the richest religious institution in the world but it also has an extremely high rate of financial crimes. The “affairs” have shaken the confidence of Catholics around the world, and have involved the highest levels of the Vatican as well as small local parishes.
In fact, the money scandals were at the heart of the most anti establishment conclave in nearly 100 years. A cabal of cardinals demanded change. They got Pope Francis and his mission is to clean up the finances of the church, get rid of the rotten apples and prune the trees that bore them. Today, heads are rolling on St. Peter’s square. But the stumbling blocks on the road to Pope Francis’s newly announced reform are considerable and the stakes are sky high for all the parties involved in the Church’s finances.
Led by University College London Historian John Dickie, this documentary goes into the pockets of the Holy Father to reveal the money issues facing the Catholic Church. Through the stories of the most recent scandals, his investigation exposes the Church’s tortuous relationship with money: from the USA where a cardinal has allegedly concealed assets to reduce the compensation of victims of child abuse to a religious congregation that traded real estate for political favour; from a monsignor arrested for money laundering to the embezzling of Sunday donations.
Priests charged with corruption, dioceses in bankruptcy, money-laundering and at the core of it all, the dirty dealings of the Vatican bank. Despite the appearances, Pope Francis faces an uphill struggle. HOLY MONEY takes us into the heart of the Catholic Church’s finances and examines why, according to the bible, “You cannot serve both God and Money”