European governments reeling from the financial crisis are looking at the Catholic Church as a new source of tax revenue. Officials are chipping away at centuries’ worth of tradition even as the church faces financial difficulties of its own, The Washington Post
Among the efforts seeking tax revenue from the church are schemes to tax church property used for non-religious purposes. In Spain, where the Catholic Church owns schools, homes, parks, sports fields and restaurants, tax revenue could reach 3 billion euros a year.
“We want to make a statement that the costs of the crisis should be borne equally by every person and institution,” Ricardo Rubio, a city council member in Alcala, Spain, told the Post.
In Italy, there are calls for levying a tax on church properties that have a commercial purpose, in Ireland the government has cut grants it gave to the poor for first Communions, and in Britain they ended transportation subsidies for religious schools, the Post reported.
The moves come as donations from parishioners have dropped and as the church has been forced to hundreds of millions in settlements over the abuse charges.
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