VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinals and other senior Vatican officials who have been living rent-free in Vatican-owned apartments in Rome will now have to pay “ordinary” unsubsidized rates, Pope Francis said.
A rescript written by Maximino Caballero Ledo, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, and signed by the pope Feb. 13 said that Vatican entities are now prohibited from offering leases, rentals or property use free-of-charge or at low-cost prices. Rate standardization also will be applied to those staying in Vatican guest houses, including the residence where Pope Francis chose to live instead of the papal apartments.
Instead, properties owned by the Vatican and Vatican-related entities must charge the same rates to top Vatican officials as would be applied to those not affiliated with the Vatican. The new order applies to cardinals and top management personnel of offices of the Roman Curia, including the Roman Rota, a Vatican tribunal.
The new rules went into effect immediately following the pope’s meeting with Caballero Feb. 13. Its contents were published by Vatican News March 1.
The rescript called on Vatican officials to make an “extraordinary sacrifice” in order to help make sure more resources could be used to carry out “the mission of the Holy See.”
It added that any exceptions to the new rules would have to be personally approved by Pope Francis.
In April 2021, Pope Francis ordered a 10% pay cut for cardinals and reduced by a smaller percentage the salaries of other top Vatican officials to save jobs that were threatened by the loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently the Vatican employs some 5,000 people.