In place of the employees’ bonus, Pope Francis ordered Vatican officials to make a donation to some “charitable organizations.”
The money will be drawn from the pontiff’s personal charity budget “as a sign of the church’s attention for the many people who are suffering” from the global economic slowdown, Lombardi said.
In 2005, some 4,000 Vatican employees received a 1,000 euro bonus ($1,300) upon the death of Pope John Paul II, and another 500 euros ($650) upon the election of his successor, Benedict XVI.
Francis told journalists a few days after his election that he wanted a “poor church, for the poor,” and he has brought a simpler and more sober style to the papacy.
He cut back on the liturgical pomp of his predecessor and has chosen to live in a Vatican guesthouse rather than in the luxurious papal apartments.
Lombardi stressed that the decision to forgo the bonus was not taken as a consequence of the Vatican’s own financial difficulties.
In 2011, the Holy See’s budget registered a $19 million deficit. For the same year, the Vatican City State, which has a separate budget, posted a $27 million surplus.
In December, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, warned that the Vatican needed to adopt “effective” cost reduction measures in the face of a “continuing inability to increase revenues” on account of the global economic crisis.
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