Goodbye to the free houses for bishops and cardinals in the Vatican: they will have to pay for them out of pocket

Pope francis

Pope Francis has signed a decree so that cardinals, bishops and other senior leaders of the Curia are obliged to pay to live in a property in the Vatican so that they do not benefit from gratuities or possible discounts as of now. 

As published by the newspaper Il Gazzetino, Francis establishes, in a  new provision,  that no member of the Curia can have a home  “free of charge or under particularly favorable conditions.”

The new regulation – the so-called Rescriptum, which has not yet been officially confirmed by the Vatican press office – it has ordered “the abolition of free and advantageous accommodation for cardinals, heads of Departments, presidents, secretaries, undersecretaries, executives , auditors and their equivalents, of the Court of the Rota Roma”, although the text does not mention the possibility of evictions being carried out. Instead, it has been established that the leases of the houses are rescheduled, as stipulated, without prejudice to existing contracts.

Some live in palaces

With this measure, the Pope wants “everyone to make an extraordinary sacrifice to allocate more resources to the mission of the Holy See” and asks all the members of the Roman Curia to pay out of pocket for the houses in which they live, in some cases, great Vatican palaces. 

The rule extends to all “property owned by Curial Institutions and Entities that refer to the Holy See” and its objective is to increase “income from the management of the real estate.”

This also includes the application of rents for the use of real estate that are analogous to those used in Italy for those who do not work or provide services to the Holy See or the Vatican City State. The new provision “does not have any effect on the facilities already granted on the date of its entry into force and, therefore, the contracts already stipulated before the entry into force of this provision will continue until their natural expiration, but may be extended or renewed only in accordance with the previous provisions”, the text adds.

Pay cut for cardinals

The objective of this measure is to heal the deficit in the balance sheet of the Holy See in recent years, which has been aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic and which is added to the Pope’s decision to cut salaries in the Roman Curia., in the case of cardinals is 10%.

As reported by the newspaper I l Gazzetino, the Pope made this decision after meeting on February 13, 2023, with the Spanish Maximino Caballero Ledo, current prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy. Caballero Ledo explained to the Pope the “particular gravity” of the economic situation of the accounts of the Holy See.

The Pontiff highlighted at that time the need for “everyone to make an extraordinary sacrifice to allocate more resources to the mission of the Holy See, also increasing income from the management of real estate.”