As coronavirus hits Vatican revenue, pope cuts pay for high-ranking clerics

Pope Francis addresses the Curia, the leaders who make up the bureaucracy of the Roman Catholic Church, at Clementine Hall in Vatican City, December 21, 2013. (Photo: NYTimes)
ROME — In an effort to contain costs and save jobs amid a slump in tourist dollars and donations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis has ordered across-the-board pay cuts for the cardinals and other higher-ranking clerics working in the Vatican.اضافة اعلان

Cardinals will see their income trimmed by 10 percent, according to a decree published. The superiors of Vatican departments will have their salaries reduced by 8 percent, while 3 percent cuts will be applied to upper-level priests and nuns. A two-year salary freeze has been imposed on other employees at higher pay grades.

The pandemic has “negatively influenced all sources of income for the Holy See and Vatican City State,” Francis wrote in an apostolic letter. “A sustainable economic future requires today, among other decisions, adopting measures that also concern employee salaries.”

The cuts, which go into effect on April 1, affect only the employees of the Holy See, Vatican City and associated institutions, including the Vicariate of Rome. They will not apply to Vatican personnel who can prove that they cannot sustain the costs of personal medical care or that of close family members.

Of the roughly 5,000 people employed in the Roman Curia, the administrative institutions of the Holy See, and in Vatican City State, cardinals have the highest monthly salaries, varying between 4,000 to 5,000 euros, ($4,700 to $5,900), according to Mimmo Muolo, the author of the 2019 book “The Church’s Money.” The Vatican does not make salaries of officials public.

The pope will not be affected by the cuts because he does not receive a salary. “As an absolute monarch he has everything at his disposal and nothing at his disposal,” Muolo said. “He doesn’t need an income because he has everything that he needs.”

The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has “heavily impacted” revenues, the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy wrote in a note in February.

The 2021 budget approved by Francis projected a deficit of 49.7 million euros. Personnel expenses account for about half the budget.