Pope Francis on Monday told congregations which run hotels and restaurants to pay their taxes “like everyone else”, weighing in on a heated debate in Italy over Church privileges.
In an interview with Portuguese Catholic broadcaster Renascenca, the Argentine returned to one of his favourite topics, the need to “fight the temptation of the ‘God of money’, into which religious congregations often fall.”
He scolded those in the hospitality business who continue to benefit from a legal loophole for religious establishments.
“Certain congregations say, ‘as the convent is empty, we’ll turn it into a hotel, and we can host people as well as meeting our own needs'”.
“Well, if you want to do that, pay your taxes like everyone else!” said Francis, who has made the fight against privilege one of the cornerstones of his papacy.
The Italian church began paying taxes on profit-making buildings in 2013, but many critics say congregations are still avoiding shelling out by claiming sites are not purely for commercial use — for example, because they include a chapel.
Its portfolio is huge: the Italian church owns at least 100,000 buildings, including thousands of schools, universities, private clinics, retirement homes, hotels, restaurants and sports centres.
Together, it is estimated to be worth some nine billion euros ($10.2 billion).
Here are fourteen things people think may be more popular than Donald Trump
President Donald Trump had a difficult Friday while on vacation at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was unable to reach a deal on the stimulus package.
So Trump lied on Twitter about the position of Democrats. But that did nothing to change the dynamics of the negotiations.
WATCH: ‘Incredible tornado’ caught on tape by storm chaser
Shocking video was posted to Twitter on Friday by a storm chaser in Canada.
"A tornado has touched down in southwestern Manitoba near Virden," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports. "The funnel cloud was documented and posted to social media by several people in the area, including storm chaser Aaron Jayjack, who shot video of himself standing in front of the twister as it touched down."
Authorities warned golf ball-sized hail was likely.
"This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation," the government warned. "Take cover immediately, if threatening weather approaches. If you hear a roaring sound or see a funnel cloud, swirling debris near the ground, flying debris, or any threatening weather approaching, take shelter immediately."
Trump campaign thought their ‘huge news’ on pre-existing conditions had Democrats cornered — but it backfired spectacularly
During a bizarre Friday evening press conference at his private golf club in New Jersey, President Donald Trump vowed to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Of course, Trump does not need an executive order to accomplish such a goal, as it is already federal law in the Affordable Care Act, that was passed a decade ago by congressional Democrats and then-President Barack Obama.
Trump campaign advisors soon took to Twitter to praise Trump's promise as "huge news."
"Huge news just now - [Trump] announces upcoming EO to cover pre-existing conditions. Big, big, big news," campaign senior advisor Jason Miller tweeted.