The wallets of priests, nuns, bishops and more will be lighter this year.

Despite being historically one of the wealthiest religious organizations in the world, the Catholic Church's leader is announcing cutbacks, citing the pandemic as one of the reasons for the change.

Pope Francis says the changes are being done with a "view to safeguarding current jobs."

He says pandemic stressors are part of the cause of the change, but not exclusively. They say in the past several years an economic deficit created financial issues. A major source of funding, their museums, have been mostly closed due to the pandemic. 

"It is necessary to ensure sustainability and balance between income and expenditure in current economic and financial management."

Pay changes include:

  • Cardinals - 10 per cent
  • other Superiors (C and C1 pay)  - eight per cent
  • clergymen (C2 and C3 pay) - three per cent

If someone is unable to meet their living needs, they say an exception can be made.

Seniority increments are on pause for the next two years.

The median salary for a priest in the United States is $29,619, according to a 2017 study from Georgetown University commissioned by the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators and National Federation of Priests’ Councils. They also receive housing and healthcare from the Catholic Church.