I heard this article on NPR and was appalled. Not at the existence or subsistence of convents but at the property ownership of the Vatican.
For the full article go here:
http://www.npr.org/2013/01/25/170267884/spains-strapped-towns-look-to-churches-for-cash

Spain’s Strapped Towns Look To Churches For Cash

by LAUREN FRAYER
January 25, 2013 3:16 PM
NPR

The Catholic Church is Spain’s largest and richest landowner, though its nonprofit status means it is exempt from paying most taxes.

The Catholic Church owns about half of [Alcala de Henares]. Sometimes people die and leave their house or business to the church, which then becomes the landlord.
..

Nowadays, there’s a different tax man in town who happens to be broke. The city of Alcala de Henares is $400 million in debt.

Meanwhile, if the Catholic Church had to pay tax on all its property in Spain, it could owe up to $4 billion a year.

“These days, towns are cutting their budgets for health care, education, infrastructure and welfare. But the Catholic Church hasn’t had to make a single cut because it gets money from the state,” said Juanjo Pico, a spokesman for Europa Laica, a Spanish group that lobbies for the separation of church and state.

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