What does the Pope get paid?
June 30, 2005 6:17 AM   Subscribe

What does the Pope get paid?

I'm assuming that his room and board are taken care of, but does he receive a salary? Does he generally donate the salary to charity or back to the Church? If he does receive a salary, what is it? Does he get health benefits?

I can't believe that this question hasn't been asked before, but I couldn't find it in the archives.
posted by elquien to Religion & Philosophy (16 answers total)
What is the Pope's salary? (cf. "beliefnet" link within)
posted by Rothko at 6:24 AM on June 30, 2005

heh, good question. But it would be pretty weird to see the pope using money, wouldn't it? like to go out and buy an ipod or something? Doesn't surprise me that he doesn't have money, just gets whatever he needs from the church (room, board, trips places, etc). I wonder if he has a TV and a microwave, though. Or if he has to make requests for certain items, or they're just considered not pope-worthy (like, it was kind of a joke when the queen got an mp3 player, but imagine if the pope did-).
posted by mdn at 7:15 AM on June 30, 2005

After JP2 died, I remember reading that he left behind no possessions and he asked that his personal paper be burned. (It's mentioned here.)

(What would he spend a salary on, anyway? It's not like he'd run down to Best Buy or the 7-11. I imagine anything he wanted would be provided for him.)

(On preview...what mdn said)
posted by PlusDistance at 7:21 AM on June 30, 2005

He'd also have no children or spouse to support or heirs to whom he'd want to leave his money.
posted by orange swan at 7:53 AM on June 30, 2005

I have a friend who is part of a Catholic religious community and I've asked him how they do money: Basically, they all take the money from they make and hand it over to the community. From that: Their room and board is covered. Communities also have cars, usually. The community also covers big expenses like tuition.

They each have a credit card billed to the community, but that is essentially for emergencies. They get cash to spend on personal expenses: clothes, toiletries, meals out or what have you. How this works is basically you get $40, and when you're all out you say you're all out and get another $40. If you need more than $40 at one time (like you have plans that will cost you more than $40 in an evening) you can say so and it's not a big thing.

For more major expenses like laptops you basically put in that you want it and they prioritize somehow the various things people want and provided it's reasonable, you'll get it though not necessarily right away.

Now that said...the pope isn't part of a relgious community, he's just a non-affiliated priest as far as I know, so it probably works differently for him.
posted by duck at 8:34 AM on June 30, 2005

So, these catholic community friends of yours are communists?
posted by zerolives at 9:11 AM on June 30, 2005

duck: careful! That is for the order segment of Priests. Technically speaking, order Priests (Jesuits, all nuns, etc) own no property- it all belongs to the community, or their order. diocesan Priests, on the other hand (the category most Popes and I believe these two fall into) do own their stuff and make a salary- in Atlanta it's typically around 15k/year, though a lot of what they need is furnished (car, housing, etc) and it's not unusual for the Priest to donate their money. Additionally, all Priests take a vow of Chastity and Obedience (order Priests to their Abbot (head of their Order), diocesan to their Bishop), but contrary to popular belief, only Order Priests take a vow of Poverty.
For example, if Bill Gates decided to become a Diocesan Priest, he'de still be rich mofo. However, if he became an Order Priest, all his assets would be turned over to the Order.

My aunt is actually a nun and I've talked a lot with her about how all this works. Fell free to e-mail me for more info.

That said, I dunno what the Pope makes. I'll ask my aunt when I visit her next month.
posted by jmd82 at 9:13 AM on June 30, 2005

I remember reading the last Pope made no salary. I don't know about the new guy. What does the Pope need money for? He's got everything he could ask for in spades.
posted by wsg at 9:25 AM on June 30, 2005

I believe the Pope has free reign over the Vatican Bank. Keep in mind though the Pope probably does no carry a wallet or has to pay for anything out of his own pocket. He has a posse that does everything for him and takes care of all expenses. I would not be surprised if he had a dedicated accountant that took care of all bills, expenses and such. It's not like the Pope goes out and buys Bentley's, so I doubt money is ever an issue.

Plus in Rome, who's not going to feed the Pope for free?
posted by geoff. at 9:30 AM on June 30, 2005

The hookers alone probably command a royal sum... ;)
posted by catkins at 1:07 PM on June 30, 2005

Poverty, chastity and obedience to God.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:50 PM on June 30, 2005

duck: careful! That is for the order segment of Priests....

That's what I said... See. I said: Now that said...the pope isn't part of a relgious community, he's just a non-affiliated priest as far as I know, so it probably works differently for him.

My friend isn't a priest, just a religious (but the role of all religious (priests or not) is the same within the community).
posted by duck at 3:30 PM on June 30, 2005

duck: my bad! That's what I get for reading in a hurry at work.
posted by jmd82 at 4:07 PM on June 30, 2005

Apparently, the Incredible Book of Vatican Facts knows the answer, if you're desperate.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:56 PM on June 30, 2005

From shm.com.au:
In 2001, the Catholic World News reported that Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, when presenting the Holy See's (the papal court's) accounts for the 2000 fiscal year, was taken off guard when asked this. The cardinal said that he assumed the Pontiff received a salary, like every other cleric. In a subsequent briefing, the Vatican's spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, announced: "John Paul II is not aware of - and he has never been aware of - any salary." The "relevant agencies of the Holy See" provided all the daily needs of the Pope.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 9:06 PM on June 30, 2005

The pope is an absolute monarch. The Vatican is his purse. Yet it would seem likely that anything he would want would, by tradition, be the property of the office, in as much as that is practical (his mp3 player, if he had one, would be left for the next 'rouge to warm the throne').

There is a tradition (so I was taught), that royalty does not handle money. They have people for such lowly tasks.

As for heirs: priests come from families, they frequently have nieces and nephews. In days of old it is certainly well known that clergy were helping their families through contacts and influence (Medici family, to name one).
posted by Goofyy at 2:10 AM on July 1, 2005

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