Pope state visit in funding shortfall as church-goers donate £1.27 each on average
With just over a month to go before the Pope arrives in Britain, the Catholic Church is facing a £2.6m shortfall in donations needed to pay for the visit.
The Church officially needs to raise £7m to pay for the pastoral elements of Pope Benedict’s state visit, although sources involved in organising the trip have told The Independent that the final bill will be closer to £8m.
So far the Catholic Church in England, Wales and Scotland has raised just £5.1m with the vast majority – £4m – coming from wealthy private and corporate donors. Just £1.1m has been given through individual collections at Mass – the equivalent of £1.27 for each regular mass-going Catholic.
A series of controversial speeches and decisions since his inauguration in 2005 have damaged the Vatican’s relations with Jewish and Muslim leaders whilst the ongoing clerical sex abuse scandal has engulfed his Church in one of its worst crises in living memory.
All of which has profound implications for the 83-year-old pontiff’s visit. The most obvious example is the Protest the Pope coalition which is planning to hold a series of demonstrations, with some of its leaders even threatening to try to get Benedict arrested for crimes against humanity.
The British Humanist Association is a founding member of the Protest the Pope campaign, demonstrating against the official nature of the Pope’s state visit next month.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Pope state visit in funding shortfall as church-goers donate £1.27 each on average,