catholic church jobkeeper
(Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

I do occasionally wonder what God thinks of the Roman Catholic Church. The focused sophistication of its manipulations would put Machiavelli to shame. Maybe he just admires its survival instinct, because that is a marvel to behold.

The Australian arm of the church, it turns out, has been collecting JobKeeper. Not only that, but the church bureaucracy has been writing to its priests who, in their capacity as its “employees” have been receiving the federal money, asking them to pay between $500-700 a fortnight of it back. To the church. Which intends to keep it.

Okay, let’s just pause for breath there, because that’s a lot to unpack. First: why is the Catholic Church getting JobKeeper, exactly? Is it not one of the wealthiest institutions on earth? Is it not a not-for-profit charitable institution, dedicated to Christ’s message of poverty and giving? Does it not have an asset base estimated to be worth more than $30 billion, in Australia alone?