Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup
Pope approves pay cuts for cardinals, top management at Vatican

With the need to reduce costs and make sure employees are not laid off, Pope Francis has approved pay cuts for cardinals, clergy, religious and upper management officials who work in the Roman Curia and other Vatican entities.

The pay cuts will go into effect starting April 1, according to a papal decree issued March 24.

Because “the financial management of the Holy See” has seen deficits each year and because revenues have been substantially reduced with the Covid-19 pandemic, “a sustainable economic future requires today, among other decisions, adopting measures that also concern employee salaries”, the papal decree said.

To contain costs and ensure employees are not laid off, the Pope approved measures “according to criteria of proportionality and progressivity”, which resulted in cuts for lay employees with higher pay-grade levels and for priests and religious.

Cardinals who work at the Vatican will see a 10% reduction to their salary, which has been estimated to be about €5,000 ($5,960) a month.

Heads of departments and senior administrators will see an 8% cut, while those who are priests or religious will have a 3% reduction in pay.


Chilean survivor added to Commission for the Protection of Minors

Pope Francis has named Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse by a notorious Chilean priest, to be a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, all victims of then-Fr Fernando Karadima, met with Pope Francis in 2018, several weeks after the Pope wrote a letter in which he said he had been mistaken in his initial assessment of the situation in Chile and asking forgiveness of the survivors and others he offended.

In a tweet after the appointment was announced, Mr Cruz thanked the Pope and said the assignment “renews my commitment to continue working to end the scourge of abuse and for so many survivors who still do not have justice”.

The Vatican announced the appointment March 24 and said Pope Francis also had extended by one year the three-year terms of 15 commission members but made no mention of the terms of the commission president, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, nor the group’s secretary, Msgr. Robert Oliver.


Rethink arms funding, say Vatican webinar speakers

The world needs to rethink personal security and move away from the idea that complex weapons systems can protect people, said speakers at a Vatican-led webinar.

“We need to rethink our concept of security, placing human beings at the center,” Izumi Nakamitsu, UN high representative for disarmament affairs, told viewers during the program developed by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development.

The UN estimates that the pandemic has erased six years of development in poor countries, with women bearing the bulk of the cost, Mr Nakamitsu said.

Despite the cease-fire proposal, she said, violent conflicts have continued, while spending on armaments has increased, and a new arms race is developing as more complex weapons systems are sought worldwide. “This is the opposite of where our efforts should be going,” Mr Nakamitsu said.

Drawing on pleas for a global cease-fire so a coordinated worldwide response to Covid-19 could occur, participants in the March 23 event stressed that it is time to prioritise vital human needs over the limited interests of violent conflict.