Pope Says Weapons Makers Are Not Christians
March 26, 2016
Philip Pullella / Reuters
Anyone who makes weapons or invests in weapons industries is a hypocrite if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said Sunday. Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin. But what about the rumor that the Vatican Bank is the majority shareholder of the Beretta Holding SpA, the world's largest arms manufacturer?
Pope Francis: Weapons Manufacturers Can't Call Themselves Christian
Philip Pullella / Reuters
TURIN (June 22, 2015) -- Anyone who makes weapons or invests in weapons industries is a hypocrite if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said Sunday. Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.
"If you trust only men you have lost," he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.
"It makes me think of . . . people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn't it?" he said to applause. He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying "duplicity is the currency of today . . . they say one thing and do another."
Francis also built on comments he has made in the past about events during the first and second world wars. He spoke of the "tragedy of the Shoah," using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.
"The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn't they bomb (the railway lines)?"
Discussing World War One, he spoke of "the great tragedy of Armenia" but did not use the word "genocide". Francis sparked a diplomatic spat in April calling the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians 100 years ago "the first genocide of the 20th century," prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador to the Vatican.
Vatican Bank Main Shareholder in 'Pietro Beretta' Arms
USA Hit Man
(September 21, 2012) -- Perhaps few people know that Pietro Beretta arms factory Ltd. (the largest arms industry in the world) and is controlled by the Holding SpA Beretta and the majority shareholder of the Beretta Holding SpA after Gussalli Ugo Beretta, is the IOR (Institute for Works of Religion [commonly known as the Vatican Bank]) private institution founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII and headquartered in Vatican City.
The story is this, behind this is as follows:
Rome was not built in a day, nor the Vatican, and less its present opulence. Has its roots in the fourth century of the Christian era, when the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and made available to the Pope Sylvester I a colossal Fortunately, it actually turned into the 1st Pope rich history.
The Catholic Church is the only religious organization in the world that has as an independent state headquarters: Vatican City. With its 2 Km2 Vatican is much smaller than many golf courses in the world, and to follow it without haste does not take much more than an hour; Counting his riches, however, take considerably longer.
The modern opulence Vatican relies on the generosity of Benito Mussolini , who thanks to the signing of the Lateran Treaty between his government and the Vatican, gave the Catholic Church a number of safeguards and security measures.
The "Holy See" got the recognition as a sovereign state, the benefit of tax exemption of their property for the benefit of their citizens, they had to pay duties so imported from abroad. He was granted diplomatic immunity and its diplomats started to enjoy post-privileges of the profession, as well as foreign diplomats accredited to the Holy See.
Mussolini promised to introduce the teaching of the Catholic religion in all schools in the country and let the institution of marriage under the patronage of Canon Law, which did not admit divorce. The benefits were enormous given the Vatican including tax benefits, were predominant.
In 1933, the Vatican once again demonstrated its ability to engage in lucrative deals with the fascist governments. The 1929, signed with Mussolini, was followed by another between the Holy See and the 3rd Reich of Hitler.
The manager Francesco Pacelli was one of the key figures of the pact with Mussolini, his brother Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII was in charge of negotiating as Vatican Secretary of State, signing a treaty with Hitler's Germany.
Pius XII knew Germany. It was nuncio in Berlin during World War I and then as Secretary of State of Pius XI, had numerous presentations to the course he was taking German politics. As such, intervened decisively in the encyclical of Pius XI, known as "Mit brennender Sorge" (which translates "With Burning Concern").
The initiative of the encyclical left, contrary to popular belief, the German bishops, the first draft was written in Rome by Cardinal Faulhaber.
The then Cardinal Pacelli, who speak German, gave definitive form, presented to Pius XI, was signed and publicada. A despite constant pressure and great world, Pope Pius XII always refused to excommunicate Hitler and Mussolini, his pontificate was marked by adopting a false pose of neutrality.
When the Nazis invaded Poland, Pius XII refused to condemn the invasion; One of the biggest advantages that the Vatican would very lucrative agreement he had with Hitler was Kirchensteuer confirmation, or a church tax, is a state tax that even now must pay the German believers, and can only escape if they renounce their religion. In practice, very few who renounce it. This tax alone represents between 8 and 10% of total tax collected by the German government.
The Vatican and Arms Dealers: An Internet Hoax
Is the Vatican Bank the Largest Shareholder in an Italian Arms Company?
Mathew Block / First Things.com
(June 23, 2015) -- In light of Pope Francis' recent criticism of the hypocrisy of arms manufacturers and investors who call themselves Christians, I've seen a number of people on Twitter and Facebook point to a story about the Vatican Bank (i.e., the Institute for the Works of Religion, or "IOR") being the primary (or second primary) shareholder in Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta, an Italian-based arms manufacturer.
The article I've seen linked to as the source for this accusation is this (rather poorly written) one: "Vatican Bank is the main shareholder in 'Pietro Beretta' arms." …
The claim surprised me, as I've read before that the IOR deliberately opposed investing in arms manufacturing. Indeed, back in 2012 the Catholic News Service reported the IOR director's saying that the bank eschews investments in "activities deemed unethical by the Catholic Church," including "arms manufacturing."
So is it true that the IOR is a major shareholder in Beretta? It doesn't seem likely. It appears that the story was first spread online by Italian blogs back in early 2012. At least one media site (perhaps more -- I don't read Italian) picked up the story.
Coranache Laiche wrote of the rumor circulating online, suggesting the idea of Cardinals with gun in hand would not be a surprise given other recent scandals at the IOR. But the publication eventually updated their story to include a release from Beretta which denied the IOR had any investment in the company at all.
The Google Translation of Beretta's statement is as follows: "In relation to widespread reports in recent days about the ownership structure of Beretta Holding, the company denies in the strongest that IOR [i.e., the Vatican Bank] or companies related to it are part of the shareholders of the company or companies it controls.
Beretta Holding, which controls a group of companies mainly active in the field of sport, hunting and leisure, is a company owned by the family for 15 generations."
I assume that release settled the matter in Italy, but it seems like the news hasn't trickled through into English yet (except on the occasional message board). Skeptic Ink reposted the accusation in late 2012, months after Beretta's denial of the story. (Skeptic Ink also included the caveat that it would remove the story if it turned out to be "bullocks." Almost three years later, it's still up.)
It's also surfaced multiple times on Reddit, including as recently as March 2015 (though there was much more discussion and buy-in on the story back in November 2014). And when I type "Beretta Arms" into Google, the conspiracy also pops its head: the auto-complete suggests "Beretta Arms Company Vatican" as the third option.
Given the Pope's most recent comments, it's not surprising to see the rumor emerging again on social media. It feeds into an all too common anti-Catholic (and more general anti-Christian) impulse to paint the church as hypocritical. But lacking any real evidence that the IOR is (or ever was) a shareholder in Beretta, it's time to put the story to rest.
Mathew Block is editor of The Canadian Lutheran magazine and communications manager for Lutheran Church–Canada. He also serves as editor for the International Lutheran Council. He tweets @captainthin.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.