What does the leader of one of the largest organizations on Earth and shepherd to a flock of over one billion Faithful make in a year? It might surprise you to learn the salary that comes with the responsibility of being the Supreme Pontiff.
Parish priests are obliged to receive compensation upon ordination, on average around $25,000 to $35,000 a year, as the bishop is responsible to provide for the needs of the clergy in his diocese.
“Since clerics dedicate themselves to ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve remuneration which is consistent with their condition, taking into account the nature of their function and the conditions of places and times, and by which they can provide for the necessities of their life as well as for the equitable payment of those whose services they need.” – Code of Canon Law 281 §1.
Cardinals can receive compensation on the order of around 5,000 Euros per month, termed the “Cardinal’s plate,” designed to pay for their living expenses. However, it might surprise you to hear that in the case of the Pope, the Holy Father earns no money for his duties.
Instead of earning a salary, all living expenses for the pope such as food, travel, and housing are paid for out of Curia funds. The exception is Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who lives in retirement in the Vatican with a monthly stipend of 2,500 Euros.
The pope does receive a traditional honorary payment of three bags containing gold, silver, and copper coins upon their death. Each bag contains one coin for each year of their papacy, and is placed into their coffin – the only monetary compensation one receives for being pope.