Christian Living
Church Life
by ChurchPOP Editor – April 2019

Have you ever thought about how much priests, cardinals and the Pope make?
On this week’s episode of The Catholic Talk Show, Ryan DellaCrosse, Ryan Scheel, and Fr. Rich Pagano discuss how much money the leaders of the Catholic Church make.
Scheel first explains, “You would imagine that the CEO of any company, especially one the size of the Church, would make a ton of money. How much does the CEO of Disney, or Apple, or Ford make? Hundreds of millions.”
“The Church is in charge of a billion people and has hundreds of thousands of ’employees,’ properties, and programs. But do you know how much the Pope makes?”
The real answers about our church leaders might surprise you!
Listen to this week’s episode below:

How much do priests make?
Scheel, DellaCrosse, and Fr. Pagano explain that most pastors and parochial vicars earn about the same salary throughout the United States.
Scheel says, “On average, parish priests make between $25,000-$35,000 per year, depending on the diocese…”
“That’s not a lot, but considering they have rectories and stuff, it’s enough to live a very modest lifestyle.”
How much do cardinals make?
“Cardinals have what they call “The Cardinal’s Plate,” Scheel explains. “Cardinals get 5,000 euros a month…That’s $68,000 per year [in American currency],” explains Scheel.”
He adds, “They all have to live in Rome, it’s more expensive, they have a lot more travel…Their vestments and their clerical clothes are more expensive…”
Fr. Pagano adds, “Yeah, but they get apartments. Those apartments are subsidized.”
Then Scheel responds, “But they are also living in a higher society, typically.”
DellaCrosse also responds, “And a lot of them give their money away.”
What does the Pope make?
Scheel first explains Pope Benedict’s retirement package. He says that the Church pays for Pope Benedict’s living expenses, and he receives an additional monthly stipend of 2500 euros.
He then asks, “What does Pope Francis make?
DellaCrosse guesses, “$100,000 a year?”
Scheel responds, “He makes three coins a year.”
“He doesn’t get them though. They don’t pay it to him,” Scheel adds. “The Pope has all of his expenses covered. They live in the Vatican, or Casa Santa Marta. They have all their traveling expenses paid for.”
“But a person is due the just wages of their work, so it would be unjust to not pay the pope,” Scheel says.
“He gets three coins: one bronze coin, one silver coin, and one gold coin per every year that he is pope. Then upon his death, all the coins will be placed into a bag and put into his coffin.
“So if you’re the pope for nine years, you get nine copper coins, nine silver, and nine gold.”
DellaCrosse asks, “So he makes nothing?”
Scheel answers, “He makes nothing. He makes those coins and he doesn’t get them until he dies.”


When I was ordained in 1976 and went to my first parish in Wales I had my keep and £5 per week.

When I got a car I also had petrol, tax, insurance and service allowances.

My first car was provided by a very kind sponsor – Mary Hoddinot RIP of Wales

I have several callers at my door each week looking for help. – who also gifted me a chalice that the family had bought for another priest 60 years previously.

In St Peter’s Cathedral from 1978 – 1983 I had my keep and £70 pocket money per month. I was also entitled to a no interest loan to buy a car.

When Cahal Daly sacked me in 1986 he told several people that I would fail financially in 6 weeks. That was 33 years ago.

I was determined that if I had to get a Monday to Friday job I would and be a priest in the evenings and weekends. Thankfully I never had to and got enough work as a priest to survive.

We priests cannot complain about our income and our living. Most of us live well – as middle class earners. I generally make them food or buy them food, electricity etc. As many of them have addictions I feel it better getting them the necessities of life.


Putting bronze, silver and gold in the popes coffin – is that the Pope bringing his wealth with him to heaven a bit like the Pharoes?