Changed times - Paying for the Pope’s visit

It was reported by The Sunday Business Post yesterday that the Catholic church has asked businesses “for millions” to help pay for Pope Francis’ visit planned later this year. How times have changed.

Once upon a time it was assumed — and never challenged — that the State would be the primary sponsor of Catholic events like this but in today’s Ireland that would, at best, seem inappropriate. Growing pluralism and the weakened position of Catholicism means that such a blank-cheque endorsement would reflect an historic Ireland rather than today’s more diverse, liberal Ireland. Wealthy individuals and corporations have been asked for “hundreds of thousands” in return for tickets to the event.

Businesses and individuals may do as they will, but it seems reasonable that any business responding positively

to that appeal should say so openly. After all, consumers would like to know if they are indirectly supporting causes they would not be happy to support directly. As ever, transparency, even if challengingly intrusive, is the best policy.

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