After hitting Vatican employees, pope Francis’ "spending review" strikes the five commissioners who oversee the Vatican bank and whose work costs 25 thousand euro per yearGIACOMO GALEAZZI
No more bonuses for the Cardinals who watch over the Vatican bank. Each Cardinal already has a "salary" of five thousand euro per month. This money used to be called "piatto cardinalizio” now the name has been modernized to " Cardinals’ cheque." All the cardinals of the Curia receive the same amount. The other cardinals take their pay from the dioceses of which they are bishops. But there is an exception. The five IOR commissioners have so far benefited of an additional allowance of up to 2100€ per month.
The "spending review" of Pope Bergoglio extends also to the College of Cardinals. After cutting the 4,000 Vatican employees’ allowances for the papal election, Francis’ decision to "break with tradition" in the field economic resources’ management has once again been made in the name of austerity. The Pope has decided to cancel the fee that is usually paid to the five cardinals who make up the Board of Supervisors of the IOR. The decision was made to coincide with the meeting of the Committee to approve the 2012 budget. The "cuts" amount to 25,000 euro per annum, per cardinal. Because of the economic crisis, The Holy See is implementing a strategy of "spending reviews" and thrifty resources’ management, in order to prevent the precipitation of budgets further into the red. Speaking of the 2012 accounts, the president of APSA, Calcagno, admitted: "Last year we survived, it could have been much worse."
Meanwhile, in a letter to his former fellow bishops in Argentina who are meeting in plenary session at the shrine of Pilar, Francis apologized for his absence “due to recent commitments that hold me back." In the refectory he sits each time in a different place and at the end of Mass he prays sitting at the back of the chapel. He makes his own coffee and offers it to the Swiss Guards who watch over his room.
The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi announced that yesterday Pope Francis had decided that, for his election, instead of giving the traditional bonus to Vatican Employees, he would make" a donation to some charities and charitable organizations, by drawing on the funds available for the Pope’s charity work, as a sign of the Church’s attention to the many people in difficulty”. "In the past - said the priest - to mark the beginning of a pontificate, Vatican employees have been granted a bonus " but, he added, "under the present circumstances, given the difficult economic situation, it did not seem neither possible nor appropriate to burden the balance sheets of Vatican institutions with a considerable and unexpected extra expenditure. "
There are approximately 4,000 Vatican employees; in 2005, for the election of Benedict XVI, they received about 1,500 Euros each. The pope’s current decisions appear in line with the understated style of his papacy. Francis has from the start defined himself as the Bishop of Rome, rather than the pope, and as such he celebrated Mass when taking possession of the basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome and of the world. This epithet can have a positive bearing on ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. Humble people to serve the last. "Let us never forget that the real power is in the service of others and that even the Pope in order to exercise his power needs to enter more and more into that service that finds its bright summit on the cross," said Francis.
"Do not fear goodness, do not fear tenderness," urged Francis in his homily at the pontificate’s inaugural Mass. And the tenderness of spirit that inspires the pope’s gestures is something that all the faithful who have already had occasion to meet him have remarked upon.