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The Prada Pope's pontificating has a price tag

I’m not making this up. This Pope’s behavior is descending into the level of farce. The church must be getting low on the cash flow based on this action, with the millions of dollars being paid out in settlements for the criminal behavior of pedophile priests enabled by Pape Ratzi.

The Vatican has been accused of trying to cash in on the Pope’s words after it decided to impose strict copyright on all papal pronouncements. For the first time all papal documents, including encyclicals, will be governed by copyright invested in the official Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The edict covers Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, which is to be issued this week amid huge international interest. The edict is retroactive, covering not only the writings of the present pontiff — as Pope and as cardinal — but also those of his predecessors over the past 50 years. It therefore includes anything written by John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII.

The decision was denounced yesterday for treating the Pope’s words as “saleable merchandise” and endangering the Church’s mission to “spread the Christian message”.

Vittorio Messori, who has co-authored works with Pope Benedict and John Paul II, said that he was “perplexed and alarmed . . . This is wholly negative and absolutely disastrous for the Vatican’s image.” A pope’s words should be available to all free of charge, he said, and to “cash in in this way surrounds the clergy with the odour of money”.

Publishers will have to negotiate a levy of between 3 per cent and 5 per cent of the cover price of any book or publication “containing the Pope’s words”. Those who infringe the copyright face legal action and a higher levy of 15 per cent.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding