Pope cuts wages for cardinals, clerics, nuns
VATICAN CITY (AP) – Trying to save jobs as the pandemic soars Vatican revenues, Pope Francis has ordered pay cuts for cardinals and other religious, as well as nuns, who work at the Holy See.
In a decree published online Wednesday by the official Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Francis said that from April, the salaries of cardinals will be reduced by 10%. Superiors of the various departments of the Holy See, who with few exceptions are clerics, will be hit by 8% cuts while lower-ranking priests and nuns will see 3% disappear from their paychecks.
In the decree he signed on Tuesday, the Pope noted that the finances of the Holy See have been marked by several years of deficit. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these financial problems, the Pope wrote, “which has had a negative impact on all sources of revenue for the Holy See and the Vatican City State.”
The belt tightening “is meant to save current positions,” Francis wrote.
Lower-ranking Vatican laymen are unaffected by the pay cuts, but their pay increases, due every two years, are temporarily frozen due to the austerity measures. However, the lowest paid laymen will always be increased.
Tourism bans by many countries and other pandemic restrictions have drastically reduced revenues for the Vatican Museums, which, along with its Sistine Chapel, is a permanent source of money for the Vatican,
Museums opened for a few weeks during the pandemic when the situation in Italy improved. But with tourists from the United States and some other countries barred from entering Italy, cavernous halls in museums were oddly uncrowded in the pandemic.
Museums are currently closed and will remain closed at least until the next Holy Week, which is normally one of Rome’s heaviest periods for tourism.
Earlier this month, the Vatican said it had nearly exhausted its financial reserves from past donations to cover budget deficits of recent years. He predicted a deficit of 50 million euros ($ 60 million) for this year.
Pandemic security measures have seen many churches closed or limit the number of worshipers – many of whom leave cash donations during services – who can enter.
The Vatican’s economy minister said the decrease in museum revenues, along with a drop in donations from Catholics, would contribute to an expected 30% reduction in revenues this year.
Salary cuts also apply to several Vatican basilicas in Rome as well as to the Vicariate, or Diocese of Rome, which is under the direction of the Pope.
Cardinals, other men and women religious in Rome generally do not have expenses that most lay people have, such as rents or mortgages at market value, utility bills and heating, as many reside in low income areas. housing belonging to the Vatican or to religious orders.
Some Cardinals have spacious, well-appointed apartments in historic Rome palaces. A Vatican staff cardinal could earn nearly 5,000 euros (($ 6,000) per month, according to those familiar with the hierarchy of the Holy See.
Either way, Francis noted, the pay cuts will not apply to anyone who can document that the cuts will make it “impossible to meet fixed expenses related to their condition” or those of their loved ones.
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