Vatican denies Pope Paul VI considered selling Michelangelo's ''Pieta'' to aid the poor

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2002

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican denies that Pope Paul VI considered selling Michelangelo's ''Pieta'' statue, the latest of many rumors that the church has considered using its fabulous art to raise money for the needy.

The newspaper La Repubblica said that a month before Paul died in 1978 he discussed the possibility of selling the statue with French art dealer Daniel Wildenstein, who died last year.

''The report is completely without foundation,'' said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

In 1976, the official in charge of sacred art rejected suggestions that the ''Pieta'' be sold, saying it belonged to ''all of Christianity.''

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