Pope Francis calls out to Vatican journalists: who reads your information?
Pope Francis on Monday challenged inside Vatican journalists to essentially justify their continued work, asking how many people actually consume their information in a review of the office that costs the Holy See more than all of its embassies around the world put together.
Francis visited the Dicastery of Communications, Vatican Radio and the headquarters of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary. He seemed to take the opportunity to put down the gauntlet at a difficult financial time for the Holy See.
Faced with a severe shortage of pension funds and a projected deficit of 50 million euros ($ 61 million) this year, Francis ordered pay cuts of 3-10% for Vatican employees, lay and religious alike , and suspended seniority bonuses for two years. .
Francis has vowed not to fire anyone to make up for the economic crisis created by COVID-19 and the pandemic-related shutdown of one of the Holy See’s main sources of income, the sale of Vatican Museums tickets.
But in a sort of warning to Vatican communications staff, he opened his unwritten remarks on Monday with a pointed question.
There are many reasons to be concerned about Radio, L’Osservatore, but one that touches my heart: How many people listen to the Radio? How many people read L’Osservatore Romano? asked Francois.
He said their jobs were good, their offices nice and organized, but there was a danger that their job wouldn’t get where it’s supposed to. He warned them against falling prey to a “lethal feature” where they perform moves but achieve nothing.
The question has been asked many times, because the Vatican Communications Office consumes more budget than any other department: according to the latest figures, the Communications Department had a budget of 43 million euros (52.5 million) for 2021, or about 20 percent of the total.
Its spending is greater than the combined spending of the 10 smaller Vatican departments.
The Vatican has long justified the costs because its communications operations are at the heart of the main mission of the Holy See: to communicate the Catholic faith to the four corners of the globe.
The cuts Francis imposed at all levels sparked a minor revolt among Vatican workers. They wrote a dazzling open letter on May 20 expressing dismay and deep discouragement at the cuts, lack of overtime and increased unmatched workload, which they said were not in line. to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.
They deplored in particular the great disparities in remuneration and benefits, in particular for certain lay managers and outside consultants on whom the Holy See relies heavily to monitor and clean up its finances.
We cannot ignore the economic hardships that families are called upon to face today due to the pandemic, they lamented, requesting a meeting to discuss their concerns.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)