The Vatican reportedly made some questionable and head-scratching investments, including in real estate, lifestyle products, and R-rated and franchise film ventures, through a fund in which they hold a majority stake in.
The Italian daily Corriere della Sera released an investigative report this week detailing some of the more head-scratching investments the Vatican has recently made through the Malta-based Centurion Global Fund, including $1.1 million - or about three percent of the total production budget - put into ‘Rocketman', a film containing explicit gay sex scenes.
Sera reports that Centurion Global Fund - a Malta based firm with two thirds of its capital entrusted by the Vatican - invested in things like the biopic and Lapo Elkann's eyewear and "lifestyle products" company. The money came from worldwide Peter's Pence collections, a charitable fund for the poor.
Holy See prosecutors are currently investigating the Vatican Secretariat of State's dealings with Centurion Global Fund. Investments through Centurian went into everything from real estate to nuclear power plant parts. The latter looks especially bad since Pope Francis has been critical of nuclear power plants recently.
‘Rocketman' was not the only film reportedly invested in by the Vatican. Another eye-popping investment went to ‘Men in Black: International', the latest installment in the ‘Men in Black' franchise and a flop released earlier this year.
The Vatican still preaches against homosexuality, but ‘Rocketman' stands as one of the most progressive films in Hollywood history in terms of gay representation.
"I'm so glad [the sex scene] is in there because I am a gay man and I didn't want to airbrush it under the carpet," Elton John told the Mirror about the film's depiction of homosexuality.
Despite the investment not being the most obvious or explainable choice, ‘Rocketman' may have actually paid off for Centurion and the Vatican since the film brought in over $195 million worldwide during its run at the box office. It carried a $40 million production budget.