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Pope reiterates that the Church has to pay property taxes on commercial buildings

by Carlo Marroni

The Church, as all honest people, has to pay taxes as established by the law. It is a concept that the Pope has repeated several times since he was elected, and that he has clearly restated on Monday.

“Religious congregations too (which tend to own properties all over the world, ed) should be alert to the temptation of the god of money. If there is gain in accommodating people, then you have to pay taxes,” said Francis in an interview with Radio Renasenca, a Catholic radio station in Portugal.

“Some congregations say: now that the convent is empty we will make a hotel of it; we can host people, live on it and gain money,” said the Pontiff. “Well, if this is what you want,” he added, “pay your dues. A religious school is tax free, but if it works like a hotel, then it should pay taxes.”

In short, there is no ambiguity in these words on a theme that in Italy (and not only) has often been the object of disputes and negotiations with governments, objections by the EU, and quite often, abuse. As early as in 2013, during an off-the-cuff morning homily, Bergoglio said that “the benefactor of the Church who is not up to date with taxes is an unjust person.”