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Peter’s Pence

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Definition:   A Sunday collection from the laity to the Holy Father, the pope. The collection was formally created in 1871 by Pope Pius IX (after the return of the Papal States to the united Italy). The collection is taken on the Sunday closest to June 29th, the Solemnity of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The 2006 collection was $101,900,192. Warning to U.S. Catholics: donations to a non-U.S. charity are not tax deductible. Donations made to an individual (even the pope) are not tax deductible. Donations made to foreign countries (e.g. the Holy See) are not tax deductible. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recommends that you contact the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC for tax information.

Discussion: There is little or no accountability for funds contributed to the Catholic Church. As the Vicar of Christ, the pope has “full, supreme and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered” (CCC 882). The papacy is the richest organization on earth.  Donations made by loyal Catholics to the pope, while commendable for their generosity, are misguided. For the USCCB to hedge on the deductibility of donations (advising people to contact the Apostolic Nunciature) is disingenuous.

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