Pope orders pay cuts for cardinals, clerics as pandemic hits finances

Pope orders pay cuts for cardinals and clerics as Covid-19 pandemic hits Vatican finances

  • Pope Francis has ordered cardinals take a ten per cent pay cut from April 1 
    Clerics will see their salaries reduced by between three and eight per cent
  • The Vatican has tried to protect lay workers, not including them in the decree 

Pope Francis has ordered cardinals to take a pay cut and reduced the salaries of most other Vatican clerics as the coronavirus pandemic has hit the Holy See’s income.   

Francis issued a decree introducing the proportional cuts starting on April 1, the Vatican said on Wednesday. 

The pontiff has often insisted that he does not want to fire people in difficult economic times, even as the Vatican continues to run up deficits.

Pope Francis has ordered cardinals to take a pay cut and reduced the salaries of most other Vatican clerics as the coronavirus pandemic has hit the Holy See’s income

Cardinals who work at the Vatican and live there or in Rome are believed to get salaries of about 4,000-5,000 euros (£3,450-4,315) a month. 

Many live in large apartments at well below market rents, and they are now being told they will have to take a ten per cent pay cut. 

Most priests and nuns who work in Vatican departments live in religious communities in Rome, such as seminaries, convents, parishes, universities and schools – giving them greater protection from economic downturns.

They have much lower living expenses than lay employees – such as police, ushers, firefighters, cleaners, art restorers and maintenance personnel – who live in Rome and many of whom have families.

It is these lay workers who the pope appeared to want to protect, as most of their employment levels were not listed in the papal decree.

Apart from the cardinals, other clerics will see their salaries reduced by between three and eight per cent. 

Programmed pay rises will be suspended until March 2023. 

The provisions will also apply to senior staff of other papal basilicas besides St. Peter’s in the Vatican.

The pontiff has often insisted that he does not want to fire people in difficult economic times, even as the Vatican continues to run up deficits (pictured, Pope Francis meets prelate auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota in the Apostolic Palace)

The cardinals will take a 10 per cent pay cut and other clerics will see their salaries reduced by between three and eight per cent. Programmed pay rises will be suspended until March 2023

The Vatican’s top economic official said earlier this month that the Holy See, the central administrative body of the worldwide Catholic Church, may have to use 40 million euros (£34.5 million) in reserves for the second straight year as the COVID-19 pandemic burns through its finances.

It expects a deficit of about 50 million euros (£43.7 million) this year. Revenues are expected to be about 213 million euros (£183.7 million) in 2021, down 30 per cent over 2020.

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, the latter a cash cow that received about six million paying visitors in 2019, were closed or only partially open for much of 2020 because of the pandemic. 

The museums had been due to reopen this month but remained closed because of a new lockdown by Italy.

In a seven-point preface to the decree explaining why action was needed now, Francis said the pandemic ‘has negatively affected all the sources of income of the Holy See and the State of Vatican City

In a seven-point preface to the decree explaining why action was needed now, Francis said the pandemic ‘has negatively affected all the sources of income of the Holy See and the State of Vatican City.’

He said that, while both currently had ‘adequate capitalisation’, he felt a duty to guarantee ‘sustainability and equilibrium between income and expenses’ in the current economic climate.

The Holy See budget covers entities in Rome that oversee the governing of the 1.3 billion-member worldwide Church, its diplomatic representations, and media operations.

Vatican City, including the Vatican Museums and the Vatican bank, has a separate budget, although income from both are often transferred to the Holy See to help plug deficits.

The Holy See’s income is from donations, real estate management and investments.

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, the latter a cash cow that received about six million paying visitors in 2019, were closed or only partially open for much of 2020 because of the pandemic

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