As a result of the deficit in the balance of the Holy See in recent years, “aggravated” by the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis today ordered a salary cut in the Roman Curia that reaches 10% in the case of cardinals, reports CNBC.
“Considering the deficit that has characterized the economic management of the Holy See for several years”, which was “aggravated” by the pandemic, and with the aim of “saving jobs”, the pontiff today ordered a reduction in salaries of the Vatican employees.
According to an Apostolic Letter in the form of “Motu Proprio”, or pontifical decree, released this Wednesday, the Pope will reduce the salary of cardinals by 10%, 8% that of senior positions in the Curia and 3% that of religious and ecclesiastical with non-managerial functions.
The reduction, which will take effect on April 1, will not apply anyway to people who can demonstrate that it is “impossible for them to meet expenses connected with the state of health” personal or a family member up to the second degree.
The decree, which claims to be based on criteria of “proportionality and progressiveness”, occurs within a framework in which the Vatican will have “the lowest expenditures in recent history” in 2021, with an estimated drop in revenue of 30% compared to 2019, and will use reserves to alleviate part of the expected deficit of 80 million euros.
“The budgeted expenses for 2021 are the lowest in the recent history of the Holy See,” the Vatican Minister of Economy, the Spanish Jesuit Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, stated in mid-March in statements to the Vatican press.
“Savings were made without diminishing the service to the Pope’s mission and defending salaries and positions of the employees,” added Guerrero Alves.
In this framework, part of the operational deficit that the Vatican projects for this year will be covered with the donation fund known as the Obolo de San Pedro and the rest with reserves.
“We should not be alarmists. The reserves are there for this, they can and should be used in times of economic difficulty,” said Guerrero Alves.
The Spanish Jesuit affirmed that, due to the pandemic, the Vatican expects this year’s revenues of 213 million, “30% less” than the 307 million in 2019, before the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“The crisis caused by the pandemic is the cause of this tight budget,” Guerrero Alves said two weeks ago.
The projected deficit is largely due to the closure until further notice of the Vatican Museums, which before the pandemic were visited by some 27,000 people a day with a base entry of 17 euros, and which were again closed to the public at the beginning of this month due to the new restrictions established by the Italian Government.