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U.K. diverted aid money to fund pope visit, lawmakers find
Pope Benedict XVI and British Prime Minister David Cameron during last September's papal visit to England.
February 3rd, 2011
09:59 AM ET

U.K. diverted aid money to fund pope visit, lawmakers find

By Sakshi Grover, CNN

The British government diverted 1.85 million pounds ($3 million) of foreign aid money to help pay for the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI last year, lawmakers charged Thursday.

"How does the papal visit count as aid?" asked the parliamentary committee that oversees Britain's Department for International Development.

The committee spotted the diversion of aid money when going over the department's accounts, members said.

"Spending on (the) pope's visit does not constitute official development assistance and is not justified at all," committee chairman Malcolm Bruce, a Liberal Democrat, told CNN.

"Many people will be as surprised as we were to discover that U.K. aid money was used to fund the pope's visit last year," he charged.

The government justified the diversion to lawmakers by saying "the Catholic Church has done some good work in developing countries," Bruce said - an explanation he called "lame."

While noting that the amount was a very small part of the aid department's 8 billion pound ($13 billion) 2010 budget, Bruce said that "raising this query will serve as a warning and discourage (it from) happening again."

The British government contributed 12 million pounds ($19.5 million) to the cost of the state visit in September, meaning that the money taken from DFID was about 15% of the total British government outlay. The Catholic Church also helped fund the visit.

Lord Chris Patten, who coordinated the visit from the British government side, is in South Africa and not available for comment, a spokeswoman said.

Bruce said not all of the aid department's budget went directly to aid projects.

But, he said, "the money spent must justify our commitment on overseas aid and development."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • Pope Benedict XVI • United Kingdom

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Halleluljah

    AH ha!!!!!! The book of Revelations speaks volumes about this one:) I especially like chapter 17 and 18. Ch 18:2,3 POINTS to the information in this article and 18:4 tells YOU -–CATHOLICMOM what you should do to avoid her outcome. Because as 18:8 brings out In one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because God, who judged her, is strong.

    Halleluljah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  2. ShepardN7

    Herman van Rompuy = Anti-you know what.
    Ratzinger = False Prophet.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Ray Jackson, MS

      I would say more of a fatted golden calf than a false profit.

      February 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  3. Public Enemy Number 2

    I don't care if the Pope is a head of state. He should pay his own damn way.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  4. resilient

    These morons are willing to spend millions upon millions for an Irrelevant and archaic monarchy. Who cares about a few million!

    February 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • chief

      idiot.... tax payers dont like to pay taxes attributed to a man in a dress that bjasphemes God by attributing thing to God...... and the defender of peds////

      February 3, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • rustyrandy

      @chief
      halfwit...that's no way to talk about Prince Charles!

      February 3, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  5. chief

    to hell with thew pope..... damn brown shirt nazi..... you bunch of clowns worship this old fool...... nothing christian about him or those who support this ped hider.... the stupid catholic church is an abomination to God... they want it every way for them.... im so sick of hearing all this "good thats been done crap" .... satan does "good things" too if it can defile God in some way...

    February 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      chief,
      The devil uses people like you any way he can....but it is not working too well for him....the devil doesn't care about you, chief...even if he makes you feel like a 'chief'; the devil is just interested in his goal of getting people to lose faith in Jesus Christ and His Church...but people see the wickedness of your words and wonder, most likely, as I do...how the devil got such a hold on you..........................

      February 4, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • gerald

      Bearing false witness with slander is an abomination of God as well Chief. You do it well.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  6. John

    what a waste of money

    February 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  7. Lance

    The Vatican is richer than many Countries and they couldn't foot the bill themselves? Pedophiles and now Charity robbers.

    February 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • dalis

      The host country ALWAYS pays for a state visit. Just curious: do you have a citation for the assets of the Vatican?

      February 4, 2011 at 3:14 am |
  8. steve

    "the Catholic Church has done some good work in developing countries," like telling woman not to use contraception so they create more mouths to feed and soon die of starvation, yep, great work Mr. Popey

    February 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • livininMICH

      Steve, gotta keep makin' those future Catholic!

      February 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  9. JRHM

    I am from Britain and I am unhappy that the Pope was given the treatment he received. He was a member of Hitler Youth! He appointed a bishop who denied the holocaust ever existed! He covered up the molestation of children by priests! He only apologised for the latter because he was discovered!

    February 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  10. thesnideone

    How disgusting to take money from the worlds poorest people that they need for basic food, water and health care and give it to this former nazi and head pedophile.

    "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

    Well, this is the first priest. Let us start with him.

    February 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  11. EnglishGuy

    well the Roman Catholic Church doesn't have two pennies to rub together so its understandable.

    February 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  12. Rasaq Seriki

    I've said it already this is time for us to mark our leaders activities performance, Is this right or wrong?.

    February 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  13. gerald

    I will be the pope coming to town generated considerable economic activity and actually probably generated at least that much in taxes. But of course this is not considered.

    February 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Ted

      Complete rubbish. The Pope coming to visit raises millions? How do you figure that? Okay you like the pope, we get that but don't just make up crap that explains wasting aid money on a pope visit.

      February 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • gerald

      Tod,

      Why do cities clamor for superbowls and conventions and presidential visits? Why do they invite musicians and bands? Hummm???? Any idea? It's all about money. People came to where the pope was. They stayed in hotels, ate at restraunts and went to other entertainment. Have you no clue about economics and how money works. When people spend money in a city, the person who gets it spends it and then the next person spends it. One dollar ends up being about six over a year. Clearly you have not taken any micro or macro economics. So in ignorance you rant back at me.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  14. Reality

    England is a "tourist" trap beckoning all to come and see an outdated and expensive, Christian qu-een, her castles and her overfunded, "silver-spo-oned" children. Just add the pope's trip to the "trap". I am sure all the concessionaires made big dollars/pounds and the British taxes the tourists paid were significantly more than the three million dollars.

    February 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Richard

      ... Take your propagandic rubbish elsewhere.

      If people hated it the UK so much then London would n ot be the most visited city in the world, the Lake district would not be the second most visited National Park in the world and the UK would not be the sixth most visited country in the world.

      February 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • thesnideone

      hyphen fail

      February 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I rather like England. Had the best vacation there. The people were great. I have a friend who lives there with her British wife and England has been nothing but welcoming to them. It looks like you missed all the anti-pope protesting too, if you think that the average UKer was thrilled by the visit.

      February 4, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  15. ana ana

    The Coolest Superheros Vehicles is here http://www.moviesfan.eu/news/item/322-the-coolest-superheros-vehicles

    February 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  16. Peter

    More politicians pandering to religious leaders. I think its time the pope got a real job and paid his way!

    February 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • dalis

      You mean like the Queen?

      February 4, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • livininMICH

      @ Dalis- the Queen and her family earn their way via tourism. Without them the UK would be in worse shape. What economic influx does the Peep, I mean the Pope, bring to the UK? Countires usually entertain heads of state for trade, secruity, etc, benefits for their own country. What can the Pope offer the people of the UK- nuclear arms, troops? Rare holy cards the Prime Minister can trade with other heads of state? Geez.

      February 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  17. Henk

    Right. As if the Pope would be worried to steal a few million from the Poor. They have been doing that ever since they had the poor and hopeless eating from their hands with their dark age garbage. How do you think they have been building all these ridiculously large churches over the years. Even the poorest and smallest of village`s have these.

    February 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • gerald

      The vatican gives BILLOINS to the poor. You have no clue.

      February 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... its shift change at club ped..... the mafia is considered benevolent.... so is kim jung il and many others..... at least they dont blaspheme God in the process.....................

      February 3, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • pjt

      Im sure you would also think Hitler was a good man too because he gave so much to the German people!!!

      Try to take your head out of the clouds. Just because someone does one "good" thing does not make them good in God's eyes. (that goes for every religion)

      February 3, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • gerald

      There are of course wolves among the sheep I agree. Many Bishops, priests, and even Popes sin and have sinned greviously in the past. I am quite open to that, though you would rather believe I am not. Have you written this Popes writings. He is not a wolf. As I said below it is much easier for the simple minded to broad brush guilt and believe everything they read rather than discern what is true and what isn't. Bigotry is born out of simple minds.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  18. Grumpster

    Whomever approved this should be ousted and exiled to the Vatcan with the rest of the corrupt bunch. If I were a Brit...I'd be p*ssed....and even not being one...I still am. I won't give dollar, pound, euro #1 to any of these cults, no matter how big they are.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  19. HotAirAce

    Not that I agree with this status, the vatican is a state and pope-a-dope is the head of that state, so his visit probably is correctly called a state visit. That being said, it would be interesting to compare the itinerary and cost for this visit to other state visits, perhaps comparing/catergorizing states of about equal size or importance. I think we'd find that this visit was hugely expensive compared to most other state visits. The UK (taxpayer) should pay for things directly related to the actual state visit, comparable to what they would do for other states, and the vatican should pay for anything/everything else – such as the activities related to bolstering the faith among the sheep, spreading their version of tribal myths and time spent protecting pedophile priests.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • mickey1313

      anyone who aknowlages the pope as a head of state, should have to read the bible from cover to cover, and if they disagree with one single line they should be hanged, f-ing hipocrites

      February 3, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  20. stevemann

    Where did you expect t the money to come from- The NHS budget.

    We borrow money for everything and then pay interest on it- So what difference.

    February 3, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • David Johnson

      @stevemann

      I expected the money to come from the Catholic Church.

      Cheers!

      February 3, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Peace2All

      @stevemann

      Ugh... How about the Catholic Church ! Or, maybe they don't have the funds to support the pope's trips...?

      Peace...

      February 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Hi, Peace2All,

      If I recall, the UK invited the Pope to their country and he agreed to make the trip.

      If I invited you, Peace2All, for a visit at my home I would expect to do things up right so you would be happy having made the effort to come for the visit.

      I would go out and buy the best food I could find, nice and fresh, prepare it so it would be perfect and ready to serve when you arrived. My house would be cleaned ahead of time, and I would make sure that the extra bedroom was in order in case you had to stay over due to a huge winter storm. There would be all the things you like as I would find out ahead of time what you prefer.

      Depending on how long you could stay…I would plan some day trips to some great places for your pleasure; I would want to pay for your tickets and meals on these trips if you would let me.

      I would not expect to pay for your ticket here or gas for your car though…unless you just couldn’t arrive without some help…and certainly would want to help if needed since it was my idea that you visit….

      It appears that the Vatican helped fund the trip. It sounded like all went well and both parties enjoyed the visit.

      Now it appears that ‘someone’ used funds that perhaps were supposed to be used for something else. Now I would not blame my husband for getting upset if I went into an account to fund my party that he was counting on to fund something else…especially if I did it knowing that it wasn’t the correct account to use for this purpose.

      Now if I used from an account that has been used before for such events and my husband never complained before, I would have to guess it is just because he doesn’t care for you, Peace2All, and doesn’t want me to make a habit of having you over.

      But I would be offended and embarrassed if my husband came after you to replenish the account!

      February 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • chief

      ew catholicmom........ shut up,,,, your have received your reward... instead of the rhetoric... defend the 1000s of children who have been abused under the watch of the vicar of Christ... another blasphemy.....................

      February 3, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • anon

      Maybe you didn't read that they did pay for a large part of it. Also maybe you weren't aware that they were invited by the British... You are to occupied with your own convoluted thought process that you dont care what any of the facts are, its an article about the Catholic Church so youre going to attack it and all commenters who aren't negative

      February 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Well, CM, you must not have heard about all the protests in the UK during the papal visit. Perhaps people were put out because the pope was warning the UK about growing secularism and was comparing the UK to Nazi Germany (which is wacky, considering how many Nazis were christians.). But I'm sure other than comparing his host to some of the most vile humans ever, the pope was a perfect guest.

      February 4, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • roy

      tallulah13 – u missed the fact that the pope was a Nazi youth member. The biggest irony of all.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • dalis

      It was a state visit, thus the host country always pays – but out of the foreign aid fund???

      February 4, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • gerald

      Chief,

      What have you done for the victims of abuse......Nothin other than accuse people without proof. Hmmmm that's bearing false witness. God doesn't like that any more than he likes children being molested.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.