Pope Francis cuts cardinal wages as Vatican finances struggle due to pandemic
VATICAN CITY (RNS) – Pope Francis’ efforts to build a “poor church for the poor” came one step closer to becoming a reality on Wednesday, March 24 when he released pay cuts for clergy and government employees. Vatican to help the troubled Holy See finances, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
By decree, or motu proprio, Pope Francis reduced the salary of Vatican cardinals by 10%. The heads of departments and secretaries of the Vatican will see their salaries reduced by 8%, while the salaries of priests and religious will be cut by 3%.
Cardinals who work in the offices and departments that make up the Roman Curia are paid between $ 5,300 and $ 6,000 per month. The salaries of other cardinals and bishops are regulated by the local dioceses and can vary widely by country. The salaries of priests and religious in the Vatican tend to be considerably lower, around $ 1,400.
Popes of the Catholic Church do not receive a salary. As a Jesuit, Pope Francis took a vow of poverty, which means he cannot receive a fixed income. Pontiffs can count on Peter’s Pence, a global donation fund from the Catholic faithful, to finance their charities.
The new measures will be applied indefinitely, from April 1. All seniority-related pay increases have been blocked until 2023, the Vatican document says.
Pope Francis’ salary cuts are made “according to criteria of proportionality and progressivity,” the Vatican statement read, with the largest cuts affecting senior officials and senior officials. The finances of the Vatican rely heavily on donations from devotees and tourists from around the world visiting the famous Vatican Museums. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has left museums empty and donations dwindling, has added additional pressure to the already depleted Vatican finances, with no sign of an economic recovery in 2021.
The decision to reduce wages was taken with the aim of “safeguarding existing jobs”, without resorting to the dismissal of employees, according to the decree. Pope Francis has been outspoken in the past about his opposition to mass layoffs, and in March 2017 he declared that “anyone who shuts down businesses and takes jobs away from men is a very serious sin.”
In its financial budget for 2021, the Vatican announced that the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Vatican coffers amounts to more than $ 60 million.
The new measures are a response to the “deficit which has characterized the economic management of the Holy See for several years” and to the economic consequences of the pandemic, “which has had a negative impact on all sources of income of the Holy See and the ‘State of Vatican City,’ the statement read.
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