Pope cuts top clergy salaries to save staff

Pope Francis is ordering cardinals at the Vatican to take a 10% pay cut, and reducing the salaries of other clergy, in an effort aimed at saving jobs there.

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the Vatican's income hard, and the pope has often insisted that he does not want to lay off anyone.

A spokesman said lower-level lay employees would not be affected by the cuts, such as ushers, cleaners, or firefighters.

Cardinals who work at the Vatican and live there or in Rome are believed to get salaries of about 4,000-5,000 euros a month.

Many live in large apartments at well below market rents.

The pandemic has forced the Vatican Museums, a traditional cash cow, to close for much of the last 15 months.

And the Holy See, the central administrative body of the worldwide Catholic Church, may have to use 40 million euros in reserves for the second straight year.

It expects a deficit of about 50 million euros ($59.77 million) this year.

Programmed pay rises will also be suspended until March 2023.