Calling St. Matthew
Some news from Italy. I don't recall a commandment saying- Thou shalt pay taxes. Yes Jesus said, Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. Didn't Caesar die around 2,000 years ago?
ROME (Reuters) - Thou shalt not steal -- from the state.All sarcasm aside, its up to the government to collect taxes properly. It isn't the job of the church to preach the payment of them.
That's the message Italy's prime minister wants Catholic priests to preach from their pulpits to help him stamp out rampant tax evasion robbing the state of sorely needed cash.
"A third of Italians heavily evade taxes," lamented in an interview with Italy's prominent Catholic magazine, Famiglia Cristiana, widely quoted in Wednesday's newspapers.
"Why, when I go to Mass, is this issue almost never touched on in the homilies?"
Italy is struggling under the weight of Europe's largest debt pile in absolute terms. The government estimates the cost of tax evasion at 7 percent of gross domestic product, or about 100 billion euros (67 billion pounds) a year.
It says this is nearly double the rate of evasion in France, Germany and Britain and nearly four times that of Austria, the Netherlands and Ireland.
One Catholic leader said that while the Church strongly encouraged citizens to pay taxes, Italy's government also needed to prove to taxpayers that their money was being well spent if it wanted more cooperation.