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Report: Average Vatican Employee makes $10.50 an hour? May 23, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, different religion, error, foolishness, Francis, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church.

In the light of Pope Francis’ incredible statements made last week, seeming to attribute mortal sin to “bloodsucking” employers who fail to provide what he feels are adequate wages and, more specifically, health insurance, it is reported (link to Crux) that the average Vatican employee makes $22,000 a year, and this in Rome, one of the more expensive places in the world to live.  If you assume a 40 hour work week (indications below are that many work much more than that) and 52 weeks work a year (the article also claims most receive no paid vacation), that works out to just over $10.50 an hour, about what a moderately experienced grocery store clerk makes.  However, this income is supposed to be tax free, the impact of which is unclear to me in real terms.  In the US, people who make under $45k a year rarely pay any income tax, anyway, but I’m not certain of the situation in Italy.

Some additional details:

…..The Vatican has a working force of roughly 4,600 employees, three quarters of which are lay people. The overall annual budget is around $300 million, with salaries and benefits being the largest single expense. [We don’t know, from the data presented here, just how much of that $300 mil goes to salary.  If we can assume 2/3 of the total Vatican annual budget goes to personnel costs, and that would probably be a bit high given many other expenses, the “average” salary+benefits cost per employee would equal ~$43500 a year – pretty durned low, especially in Rome]

……The net result is that the average Vatican employee makes around $22,000 a year, tax free.

That may seem shockingly low by American standards, but for those already in the system it’s at least a secure source of employment: Odds are, the Vatican is never going out of business. [Does it seem shockingly low to you?  Seems pretty low to me]

Under the Vatican’s labor law, it’s also virtually impossible to get fired……….

……..Those working with a full-time contract get a pension and health care, though anyone living in Italy for more than three months and who registers with the National Health Services is eligible for free or low-cost health care along with their families, university students and retirees.

Things have gotten considerably more difficult for many lay Vatican employees since February 2014, when the Vatican announced an immediate end to new hires and imposed a freeze on wage-increases and overtime in an effort to cut costs and offset budget shortfalls.

Pope Francis, with input from the Vatican’s central accounting office, also determined that volunteers could be used to help provide the labor needed to make up for the hiring freeze and eventual attrition.

According to four Vatican lay employees, all of whom asked to remain unnamed, the freeze has created new ways in which laity face exploitation.

In truth, new lay people are still being hired to work in the Vatican, but under what are known as “religious contracts.” These contracts are supposed to be for religious men and women coming to Rome to fulfill a specific task, for a period ranging from 10 months to a year. [Which would seem dubious to start with.  Also a sad sign of the continued collapse of religious life?]

Since religious communities normally provide health insurance, pension and benefits, the Vatican doesn’t have to cover them, and doesn’t do so for a lay employee hired under these contracts. [So that notional $22,000 salary does not even include the single largest additional cost to employers – health insurance?]

This is the case of many people working today at Vatican Radio, for instance, or the Vatican Museums.

In most cases, the employees add, people under these contracts end up working for many years, with no benefits, no guaranteed vacation days or no health insurance, hoping to eventually see their situation regularized. [My goodness.  If true, wow.  Hypocrisy much?]

Now, this is one report, not exactly the gold standard for reliability, but nevertheless, if even somewhat true, this would reveal a huge dichotomy between the rhetoric we are treated to, and the reality of how Francis runs the Vatican administration as a sort of religious CEO.  It would mean, in essence, that Francis has condemned himself with his words. And not for the first time, I might add.

There could of course be true mitigating circumstances, a perceived need to balance the Vatican books, the collapse in religious fervor leading a general decrease in donations to Peter’s Pence (for which, it can be said, Francis shares a growing responsibility), perhaps some dire and unseen funding/debt difficulties – all of which apply to private “bloodsuckers” just as much as they do to the Vatican.  Meaning, that while the seemingly low pay of Vatican employees, and using less than perfectly just means to keep employee costs down, can perhaps be excused or explained away, they cannot be squared with the rhetoric declaring others who do exactly the same things for perhaps even better reasons to be mortally sinful.

A skeptic might add that such behavior, however, would be thoroughly in line with the Peronist oligarchical populists of Argentina, who loved to condemn the rich as evil and show themselves to be the friend of the poor common working man, even while obscenely enriching themselves, often at the expense of the poor.

Thankfully, I am not a skeptic.

h/t reader “ediegrey”


1. c matt - May 23, 2016

It is not necessarily hypocritical: He could consider himself one of the bloodsucking mortal sinners.

2. Joseph D'Hippolito - May 23, 2016

This is neither new nor surprising. Steve Skojec wrote about the American bishops’ tendency to do likewise:


I’ve gotten to the point where I believe that Catholicism is nothing but a feudal caste system. It’s by the bishops, of the bishops and for the bishops; the laity and “lower clergy” be damned! Come to think of it, the phrase “lower clergy” merely reinforced the idea of Catholicism as a caste system. It also explains the Church’s fundamentally condescending attitude toward the poor.

If this offends anybody, I really don’t care. Wake up and smell the espresso. It’s been brewing for centuries.

Observer - May 23, 2016

Well, the way things are going in Europe the bishops in the Netherlands and France will soon be captains without a crew. I suspect that is one reason they are in favor of replacement level immigration, they have a crazy idea that Muslims are going to become good Christians. It is also possible many bishops, of all denominations, will make the switch and become imams! For many of them it’s just a job.

Joseph D'Hippolito - May 24, 2016

I don’t think the European bishops care whether Muslims convert. They reflect the “spirit of the age,” as it were. Let’s not be naive: Pope Francis’ comments about proselytizing reflect the hierarchy’s prevailing ecumenical spirit. The bishops probably believe that one religion is as good as another. Frankly, I doubt if many of them know what the Gospel means or is.

3. Baseballmom - May 23, 2016

No surprise here.. It is the progressives M.O…

4. Margaret Costello - May 23, 2016

I make under 17K per year and pay income taxes…between the local 1% tax, the state 3% tax, the 6.2% SS tax and 1.45 Medicare tax (two benefits I will never see in my lifetime) as well as Fed tax, I pay out over 12%. I feel sorry for these poor people…22K is poverty level living in Rome. God bless~

Tantumblogo - May 23, 2016

Sorry, I should have been more specific, I was referring to federal income tax, not all the others. The same situation applies in Italy, where there is an “income tax,” but also a number of other taxes, including VAT.

I live in a state where there is no income tax, thank God, so it did not occur to me at that time.

5. follow the $$$ - May 23, 2016

Church salaries come from us.

Yes the church may have some investments — where did those come from in the first place ? Donations ? Medieval landholdings in Europe ?

Do you feel that people who received monetary compensation as a result of the abuse scandals deserved the verdicts ? Where did that money come from … ?

I know someone who is a permanent deacon (U.S.). No salary for them. Maybe a small stipend depending on the parish and/or pastor.

Voluntary stipends for marriages, baptisms, quinceaneras from those to whom they minister. For funerals, usually a stipend via the funeral home. Basically pays for gas money.

In short, it seems that if you’re not self-supporting, you’re not going to be a deacon, with a few exceptions.

Joseph D'Hippolito - May 24, 2016

I strongly suggest you do some research on a man named Bernardino Nogara, whom Pope Pius XI commissioned to invest the millions the Holy See received from Mussolini’s government when both parties signed the 1929 Concordat that recognized Vatican City as an independent state. Nogara received the Pope’s commitment not to interfere in his investment decisions. As a result, Nogara invested the millions in such companies as pharmaceutical firms that manufacture contraceptives and armaments manufacturers. Today, the Vatican is the largest shareholder in Beretta.

Tantumblogo - May 24, 2016

That’s true. Almost every one of Francis’ condemnations of sin against others are instances of projection, whether he knows it or not.

Joseph D'Hippolito - May 25, 2016

He probably does know but doesn’t care.

The Pharisees have not died out. They live in St. Martha’s guest house and in chanceries around the world.

6. Warren Memlib - May 24, 2016

“[Popes] who live in glass-houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Baseballmom - May 24, 2016

Gold star for you!

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