I've seen some disbelief, that independent country can give away it's wealth to Vatican for good relations. Yet it happen everyday, mostly in countries where catholic religion exceeds 90% of population.
It's called concordat, document detailing relationship between country and Vatican.
Poland would be good example how this can be twisted to enormous proportions.
Concordat signed in 1993 between rather fresh gov and Vatican (tho ratified in 1998) states for example:
The Holy See and the Republic of Poland
- recognising the considerable contribution of the Church to the development of humanity and to the strengthening of morality;
♦ guided by the above-mentioned values and by the general principles of international law and also by the principles respecting human rights and
fundamental freedoms, as well as the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination on religious grounds;
Respecting the right to religious freedom, the State shall guarantee the Catholic Church, irrespective of rites, the free and public exercise of its
mission, as well as the exercise of its jurisdiction, management and administration of its own affairs, in accordance with Canon Law.
control education of one and only religion:
1. Recognising parental rights with regard to the religious education of their children, as well as the principles of tolerance, the State shall
guarantee that public elementary and secondary schools, and also preschools, managed by civil administrative organisations or independent bodies,
shall arrange, in conformity with the desire of interested parties, the teaching of religion within the framework of an appropriate school or
2. The curriculum for teaching the Catholic religion, as well as the textbooks used, shall be determined by ecclesiastical authority and shall be
made known to the relevant civil authorities.
3. Teachers of religion must have authorisation (missio canonica) from their diocesan bishop. Withdrawal of this authorisation signifies the loss of
the right to teach religion. The criteria for this educational training, as well as the form and means of completing the same, shall be the object of
agreements made between the competent civil authorities and the Bishops’ Conference of Poland.
1. The Catholic Church shall have the right to establish and run institutes for the education and bringing-up of children, including preschools and
schools of every kind, in accordance with the provisions of Canon Law and according to the principles laid down by the respective civil laws.
own free of any charge media:
1. The Catholic Church shall have the right to print, publish and freely disseminate any publication pertaining to its mission.
2. The Catholic Church shall have the right to possess and make use of all means appropriate for social communication, and also to broadcast
programmes over public radio and television, in accordance with norms established by Polish law.
But that just a tip of an iceberg. Since 1989 there was special 'Wealth commision" created, sticked to polish Ministry of Domestic Affairs and
Administration, which aim was to help Catholic Church to reclaim their properties taken by communist gov. Sounds justified, alright, but commision was
actually membered only by church and gov officials. And you have to realize, that majority of church's wealth were never touched during 50 yrz of
In effect polish gov gave freely away over 97.000 ha. of it's territory to the Vatican (which is 44 ha.), local communites had absolutely no say,
they weren't even participants in commision works. Scam that church pulled on multiple occasions, was to lower down (waaay down) prices of land they
were about to reclaim. Commision was using price estimations delivered by... experts hired by church. Also to higher up prices of land, already in
Eventually it went up all the way to Constitutional Tribunal, when major left-wing party proved that more wealth had been already repossesed than
actually taken by commies, all was quickly hushed down, only one argument was found to be credible and it was just a technical detail.
In Feb. 2011 polish Central Anti-corruption Unit made analysis sent to all gov. officials, that work of Wealth Commision is unclear and harmful for
country. They also launched own fruitless investigations in the matter, along with Domestic Security Agency which aimed at certain solicitor of many
religious orders involved. No effect. Members of commision were also paid from public money for their work, even in 2010 where there was not a single
meeting of it.
Also there is also special 'Church Fund' in polish annual budget, which is about 20mln$. Those money goes for social and medical insurances for
priests, noons and restoration of sacral buildings.
That's a power of Vatican, in full scale!