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. Three million

    Sum1 pocketed that money!

    February 4, 2011 at 7:15 am |
  2. ed

    If the pope really wanted 'all possible money' to help others...

    February 4, 2011 at 5:02 am |
  3. Charles Gannon

    Why is this even listed as news ?

    February 4, 2011 at 3:56 am |
  4. Peter Q Wolfe

    Who cares about catholicism/protestantism? Seriously all abrahamic faiths like all other religions are totally fake. I'm no no longer believing in organized religion for one thing the Christmas Tree is nordiac in culture of the german variety. For another the Easter Bunny was totally pagan for fertinity not for resurrection. Another thing that christians all agreed up to 1930 that contraceptive was wrong. Another thing is that there are is multiple other religions claiming the same thing about the three kings in astronomy and the only one savior star in the sky that will come to save us. Bla, bla, bla and more bla the fact is that if God exist he has never conacted us. Nor for that matter does he interfer in our day to day lives rather its a normal process undertaken by natural forces such as global warming. By the way, health care is a right not a priviledge! Kiss my ass christians, muslims, hindus, etc and learn to love one another not be divided by myths.

    February 4, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Peter Q Wolfe,

      Was your faith so weak that when you heard of man’s traditions of Christmas trees, Santa Claus, Easter Bunnies, and Pumpkins at All Hallowed Eve celebrations, it shook your faith to its foundations and you let silly paganism notions over-ride your faith. Too bad…..

      Peter Q Wolfe,

      Was your faith so weak that when you heard of man’s traditions of Christmas trees, Santa Claus, Easter Bunnies, and Pumpkins at All Hallowed Eve celebrations, it shook your faith to its foundations and you let silly paganism notions over-ride your faith?

      You are so mad that you didn’t get your free health care yet….you would pass any bill no matter how it hurt someone else…as long as it provided you with your desires for yourself. Talk about absence of love for one another……

      February 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Stephen Cencak

      Mr. Wolfe, you must be an atheist, so no statements on Faith, God, Religious Leaders, etc. will ever have any positive effect in your life. You seem to have taken the easy path in your life journey- – – don't be concerned with having any sense of sin and being responsible for your immortal soul, that's too hard! I feel so sorry for you. BTW, The "easter bunny" has nothing to do with "The Resurection", the impression you have posted is that of angry ignorance.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  5. Green Bay Packers Tie

    Go Packers! : )

    February 4, 2011 at 3:37 am |
  6. Green Bay Packers Tie

    Go Green Bay Packers! : )

    February 4, 2011 at 3:33 am |
  7. dalis

    Just like I expected, the story is about the misappropriation of foreign aid funds from Her Majesty's government (meaning the British taxpayers), but all anyone can do is blame the Catholic Church for decisions they had nothing to do with.

    February 4, 2011 at 3:22 am |
  8. jimmy

    are you people serious? the article clearly says that the catholic church paid their part and were does it say they made the british pay anything?

    February 4, 2011 at 2:57 am |
    • livininMICH

      Uh, Jimmy, that would be the first line of the article, which states : "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."

      February 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  9. Justina

    These stupid Americans – mere barbarians if the ancestors didn't have Christian teachings – should be scorned forever by the whole world for bashing the Catholic Church.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • tallulah13

      Are you actually serious? I fail to see what is so civilized about christianity - a cult that centers around human sacrifice and ritualized cannibalism. Sounds pretty much like a lot of other cults, except the cannibalism. Takes a very special cult to make people to eat pretend human flesh and drink pretend blood once a week or so.

      Man created god in his own image. In fact man has created a LOT of gods (and goddesses) in his own image. You just like this one because you're promised eternal life. As far as I'm concerned, the last person who deserves to be rewarded is someone who is thrilled that some poor guy got tortured to death so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions.

      February 4, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Justina

      Tallulah, you are talking like a pagan Roman from the 1st centrury, and the stuff you mentioned is about your own religion, not Christianity. People freely believe in Jesus because only in Him there is God's truth, love, forgiveness, salvation, redemption and the new life. Eternal life cannot be given to those take false advantage of Christianity. Your corrupt, warped view on God's Son will get you only where you deserve.

      February 4, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • livininMICH

      You know Justina, some Americans are stupid. However, just because they disagree with you or with the teachings of the Catholic Church doesn't make them so. However, you have displayed your intolerance to people that don't share your opinion. I can't say that makes you stupid, but it does make you closed minded. In my experienc the two seem to go hand in hand. I'm just saying....

      February 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  10. Mr. Potato Head

    I wish the pope could buy me a Mrs. Potato Head, then my life would in Idaho would'nt be so boring .

    February 4, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  11. Justina

    British are becoming unwise and more hopeless each passing month. Pope visits Britain and re-energize British Catholics' giving into billions of pounds for the needy around the globe. Britain needs godly encouragement from Pope more than anything else. Downfall of stupid secular Europe continues.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Justina

      My above comment is aimed at critics. Also, it's not "some good work" Catholic Church does. It's massive good works, many times only good instution in existence in the region!
      Fons, are you there? I think I've found you in CNN. Glad to see you saying right things as before. Now talking to you seems as difficult as getting a message to the 2,000-light-year-away planet. God bless you, son.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  12. Bomb Smith

    Oh yeah and for whoever said that the Roman Catholic Church gives Billions in aid is correct. The problem is simple accounting practices. If they are giving out Billions then they are receiving much more. Much of this comes from the poor. They actually take away from the people instead of helping them. Its simple accounting. If bill gates gives away a million a year but accrues 3 million per year in interest then he is actually profiting. The Church is profiting. Look at the numbers .

    February 4, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • anon

      *see my above post

      February 4, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  13. Mad Cow

    "I will gladly pay you in the afterlife, for a hamburger today" – Pope Wimpus the Furstus

    February 4, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • livininMICH

      Can I get a side of spinach with that? Thanks for the laugh

      February 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  14. Bomb Smith

    They paid the pope 3 million dollars to molest....I mean bless the people of the United Kingdom. That's such a gracious thing that the pope is doing only charging them 3 million....What a kind old pedophile that pope is.

    February 4, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  15. Reality

    There are "truth in advertising" laws. There should also be "truth in religion laws" starting with:

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions, a virgin birth and an immaculate conception).

    February 4, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • anon

      (see my above post)

      February 4, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  16. IMA Sarahpalinfanatic

    Sarah palin made me into one of her fanatics .

    February 4, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  17. anon

    ARGGH CATHOLIC CHURCH BAD! I DONT LIKE THEM! I AM BETTER AND KNOW SO MUCH MORE THAN ALL OF THEM. CATHOLIC CHURCH RUIN THE WORLD! oh wait this is of topic? has nothing to do with the article? see below posts/ comments for more!

    February 3, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  18. MichaelShepardN7

    Not happy with the sewer rat. Not only does that vile creature stink, he lies. Besides the King James Bible is far better than the catholic bible.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Mike Talarico

      King James Bible? That Protestant book? Who picked the books for the New Testament – The Catholic Church – Who wrote the 1st Bible, – St Jerome – etc, etc... By the time the Book of Revelations was writen the Catholic church was on its 5th Pope. The Catholic Church – 1st Pope was St Peter – " The Rock that he would build his church on" Guess where St Peter's tomb is, underneath the Vatican...

      February 4, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • dalis

      The KJV is a corrupted willful mistranslation of the Bible. Don't believe me? Look up the oldest extant Bible the Codex Sinaiticus (sorry guy it's 100 years older than St. Jerome's Vulgate). The inconsistencies between the KJV and the Codex are inexcusable.

      February 4, 2011 at 3:18 am |
  19. Ray Jackson, MS

    Death to the cult of the holy pedophile!

    February 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • dalis

      Really? All 1.1 billion men, women and children?

      February 4, 2011 at 3:16 am |
  20. MichaelShepardN7

    Do i detect s**t going to hit the fan. Yes, why yes I do.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:46 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.