January 23, 2006
Deus Pecunia Est
The Vatican must be feeling the pinch:
The Vatican has been accused of trying to cash in on the Pope’s words after it decided to impose strict copyright on all papal pronouncements.
For the first time all papal documents, including encyclicals, will be governed by copyright invested in the official Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
The edict covers Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, which is to be issued this week amid huge international interest. The edict is retroactive, covering not only the writings of the present pontiff — as Pope and as cardinal — but also those of his predecessors over the past 50 years. It therefore includes anything written by John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII.
… A Milanese publishing house that had issued an anthology containing 30 lines from Pope Benedict’s speech to the conclave that elected him and an extract from his enthronement speech is reported to have been sent a bill for €15,000 (£10,000). This was made up of 15 per cent of the cover price of each copy sold plus “legal expenses” of €3,500.
Vittorio Messori, who has co-authored works with Pope Benedict and John Paul II, said that he was “perplexed and alarmed . . . This is wholly negative and absolutely disastrous for the Vatican’s image.” A pope’s words should be available to all free of charge, he said, and to “cash in in this way surrounds the clergy with the odour of money”.
Although that’s an aroma the Catholic Church has always found alluring.
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