VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis ordered the cardinals to cut the salary of 10 percent and cut the salaries of most other clergymen working in the Vatican to save employee jobs as the pandemic of the coronavirus affects the income of the Holy See.
The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis issued a decree introducing proportional cuts effective April 1. A spokesperson said that most lay employees would not be affected by the cuts.
A top Vatican prelate said it was believed to be the first time in living memory that a pope had taken such an action.
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The 84-year-old Francis from a working-class family has often insisted that he doesn’t want to fire people in tough economic times, even as the Vatican continues to run up deficits.
Cardinals who work in the Vatican and live there or in Rome are believed to receive salaries of around 4,000 to 5,000 euros ($ 4,730 to $ 5,915) a month, and many live in large apartments with rents well below market.
Most of the 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 against economic downturns.
They have much lower living expenses than lay employees, such as policemen, ushers, firefighters, cleaners, art restorers and handymen, who live in Rome and many of whom have families.
The Vatican’s top economic official said earlier this month that the Holy See, the central administrative body of the world Catholic Church, may have to use 40 million euros in reserves for the second year in a row as the Covid-19 pandemic burns its banks. finance.
He expects a deficit of around 50 million euros this year. Revenues are expected to be about € 213 million in 2021, 30 percent less than in 2020.
St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, the latter a source of income that received around 6 million paying visitors in 2019, were closed or only partially open for much of 2020 due to the pandemic. The museums were due to reopen this month, but remained closed due to a new closure by Italy.