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How much do priests, bishops and nuns earn (and who pays)

Knowing exactly how much a priest, a bishop, or a nun earns is a curiosity for many, especially because there are those who wonder who pays the religious and if in some way they weigh on their pockets.
The system of calculating the "salary" of priests, bishops and nuns can be quite complicated as the earnings depend on the role, as well as the hierarchical level.
For example, in the case of priests, a remuneration is ensured – called "clergy support" – useful for ensuring the economic means necessary to lead a dignified life and carry out their mission.
Remuneration that progressively increases as one's career progresses, also based on the various positions held.
It should therefore not be understood as a real "salary", although it is taxed like any other salary received in Italy, but rather as just enough support to guarantee economic self-sufficiency.
However, nothing is due to friars and nuns, unless obviously they carry out a real work assignment.
But let's go into detail by analyzing what the remuneration, updated to 2024, is paid to religious people, as well as answering one of the citizens' greatest curiosities, namely whether the costs necessary to pay priests, friars and nuns are borne by the Italian State or not.
How much do priests, bishops and nuns earn How much do priests and bishops earn Tax rules The salary of nuns and friars Who pays? The pension How much do priests and bishops earn The remuneration given to priests varies depending on their level of seniority and the role they perform.
In detail, for priests who benefit from the support of the clergy, the remuneration defined by the Italian Episcopal Conference is equal to 13.12 euros gross (value updated to 2024) for each point assigned.
In this regard: we start from 80 points for the newly ordained priest, who therefore will be entitled to 1,049.60 euros gross this year; up to 138 points, 1,810.56 euros gross per month, of the bishop nearing retirement.
The assignment of points may depend on a series of factors: for example the distance between parishes for those who operate in pastoral communities, as well as the presence of particularly onerous situations.
For example, for those who work in disadvantaged areas, as well as for those who have roles at diocesan level and for parish vicars who teach religion at public schools.
It must be said that the Support of the clergy represents only an integration.
The aforementioned values, in fact, constitute the income threshold that must be guaranteed to the priest.
The first contribution to reaching this threshold is any income received by the priest for any other positions held, for example if they are teachers at the same time, or if they work in hospitals or barracks.
The Central Institute for the Support of the Clergy intervenes only where the compensation received is lower than the income threshold redefined annually based on the cost of living, recognizing a supplement where necessary.
Instead, it is up to the parishes to ensure accommodation for each priest and to help cover the costs of some services (such as for electricity, water and gas) through the recognition of an expense reimbursement of around 100 euros per month.
However, this sum is not due to those who have an income higher than the CEI ceiling (which as seen above ranges from 1,049.60 to 1,810.56 euros based on the points assigned).
Priests who, due to age or health, do not carry out an active ministry and are therefore included in the supplementary pension system are entitled to a supplementary allowance of approximately 1,400 euros gross.
Tax rules As anticipated, taxes apply to clergy support as for any other employee work carried out in Italy.
For the same reason, in the case of priests who receive less than 15 thousand euros a year, the supplementary treatment (ex Renzi bonus) of 100 euros per month is also recognized.
read also Calculating net salary from gross: formula, procedures and quick method The salary of nuns and friars Nuns, like friars, unlike priests, do not receive a salary and this is why they tend to carry out external activities working as nurses or teachers.
In this sense, the nuns are provided with an adequate salary for their profession and deriving from collective labor agreements, just in the same way as a simple working citizen.
For the friars, as we said, the situation is similar, they too do not have a guaranteed livelihood.
In fact, whether they are Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans or Jesuits, they live according to the rule of chastity, poverty and obedience and in community.
read also Can priests get married? What does the law say about celibacy Who pays? As seen above, priests can carry out a work assignment while receiving a salary for all intents and purposes.
In this case the employer is responsible for it: for example, religious teachers are paid by the Italian State, as are the military chaplains present in our barracks.
Should the compensation received be lower than the minimum support threshold defined annually, then the Central Institute for the Support of the Clergy (Icsc) will intervene: a body of the CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference) whose task is precisely to manage the remuneration of priests, parish priests, cardinals, bishops.
The same obviously deals with those who do not carry out any role other than the priestly one.
In detail, the payment takes place in the following way: every year the CEI sets the income thresholds that each individual clergyman must receive; priests are required to communicate their income, activities and length of service to the reference institute; at this point the income is established based on what the priest declared; the central institute verifies the income situation and decides how much is due to each person based on the information obtained.
But who finances the Central Clergy Support Institute? Usually this provides for financing the support through free donations for the priests and where these are not enough it resorts to the resources deriving from the 8X1000.
read also How much Pope Francis earns: the Vatican's assets The pension The pension for priests and nuns works like for other Italian citizens.
In the case of priests, for example, it is not the CEI that pays the pension, but the INPS.
This is because during his ecclesiastical career the priest pays contributions into the Clergy Fund managed by the Italian Social Security Institute, based on the amount of support received.
The nuns, who are the least protected because they do not have a salary from the Church and therefore may not meet the requirements to secure a pension, can also be paid the Social Allowance if they meet the conditions.

Author: A.W.M.

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