Pope to end cardinals' housing benefits and charge them rent
Sylvie Claire / March 3, 2023
Pope Francis has decided to end the real estate benefits previously enjoyed by cardinals and senior Holy See officials, including their exemption from rent, the official Vatican news site reported Wednesday.
Under the papal decision, Holy See leaders and officials are being asked to make a "sacrifice" in the face of economic constraints by paying market prices for their apartments, according to Vatican News, whereas cardinals living in Vatican apartments were previously rent-free.
This includes the heads, second and third levels of dicasteries, the Vatican's equivalent of ministries.
This decision was taken "to face the growing commitments" of the Church, "in an economic context, such as the present one, of particular gravity," according to the text.
He insists on the need "for all to make an extraordinary sacrifice in order to allocate more resources to the mission of the Holy See.
The measure does not apply to current contracts, which will run to their term without being affected by the decision. However, "they can only be extended or renewed in compliance" with the new rules and "any exceptions to the new regulations (will) have to be directly authorized by the pope," according to Vatican News.
The decision was not the subject of an official statement and Vatican officials contacted by AFP were not immediately available to detail the details.
The Vatican has a vast real estate portfolio valued at billions of euros, including prestigious addresses in Paris, London and Geneva, as well as numerous apartments in Rome.
Since his election in 2013, Francis has sought to get the Holy See's finances in order, while trying to increase transparency in the Vatican.
In 2021, in order to clean up the finances of the Holy See hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Argentine pope had already reduced the salaries of cardinals, prelates and heads of dicasteries.