Inside the Vatican's walls.
The new coins are Euros - the currency that the Holy See has used since January, 2002. Coins with the Pope's likeness have been made - but until now, only to be sold as part of collections. The Hole See made a deal with the European Union in December, 2009, that allows - or requires - coins with the Pope's face to be put in circulation.
"...According to the fine print of this agreement, reported France's I-Media, the Vatican was obligated to put at least 51 percent of the nominal value of its coinage in circulation. However, in order to protect value in the important trade of collections, the 50 cent coins are the only ones in circulation and they will only be given out in pairs: two per customer...."
Coins, Being 'Spiritual,' and the Catholic ChurchI grew up before the 'prosperity gospel' got traction in American culture, and some of the frightfully-spiritual folks I heard were - let's say ambivalent about having money. These days, I seem to run into same old 'those wealthy folks are so
I suppose I could rant and rave about the evils of wealth and how a spiritual place like the Vatican should be spiritual and not worldly and anyway why should anybody have more money than me.
Not gonna happen.
It's true: the Holy See has a remarkable number of art treasures and other incalculably valuable stuff. When you've been around for almost 2,000 years, stuff accumulates.
I'm not upset that the central headquarters of the Catholic Church photographs well. I've written about that before. (February 4, 2010) Like it or not, the people we deal with are human beings - and folks like us tend to take an outfit more seriously, if it operates out of something a trifle upscale.
The 'wealth of the Vatican' doesn't keep us from helping folks who can use a hand. I've written about that before, too. (April 10, 2010)
So the Vatican raises a little money by selling collectible coins, and circulates a four-bit Euro that doesn't look just like every other Euro in Europe. The Catholic Church exists in a world where people use money to keep track of who owes how much to who - so the Church had better deal with money, or we'll be 'so heavenly-minded that we're no Earthly good.'
And that wouldn't be good.
Back to that rather cool-looking coin: The words below Pope Benedict XVI's face are "Citta del Vaticano 2010."
- "Statue of Saint Rita of Cascia, Biggest Catholic Statue, Unveiled Today"
(June 26, 2010)
- "Money isn't Everything: But it Helps"
(April 10, 2010)
- "Wealth, the Vatican, the White House, Corporate Headquarters, and Cultural Values"
(February 4, 2010)
- "Three Things That Go By the Name of Christmas"
(December 24, 2009)
- "Vatican coin now in circulation"
EWTN News/CNA (July 23, 2010)
- "Australian and Vatican-Approved Coins Commemorate 'World Youth Day 2008' "
CoinNews.net (March 5, 2008)