Vatican employees: No rest for the…weary?

Q: How many people work at the Vatican?

A: About half of them.

Ba-da-boom! Only that rimshot was reportedly delivered by Pope John XXIII himself. Though I’ve never found the citation, it is–as we say at the tabloids–too good to check out. And it sounds like Pope John. It also sounds like the Vatican I knew when I worked there in the 1980s–and why should it change now?

Well, somebody up there is trying. Last month, RNS reported that the Vatican was raising the retirement age by two years. Starting January 1, 2010, “newly hired lay staff will retire at 67 instead of 65, while newly hired members of religious orders and priests (below the rank of bishop) will retire at 72 instead of 70.” There is no change for bishops and cardinals working at the Vatican, who can retire at age 75, though they often continue beyond that.


This isn’t some German efficiency push by Der Papst Benedikt XVI–just the stupid economy.

“Even the Vatican is feeling the crisis and we need to be careful about spending like everyone these days,” said the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, deputy director of the Vatican press office. “Austerity budgets are required to survive,” he added.

And it’s what the U.S. needs to do, but which pol will sacrifice his or her career to deliver the news?

On the other hand, the Vatican is just now getting around to actually clocking the hours that Vatican workers work–and it isn’t pretty.

As the Italian news agency, ANSA, reported, the Vatican last October issued swipe cards to  all employees “from the lowest office staff to the grandest heads of departments — even if they are priests or bishops.” That’s the first time they’ve been required to record their hours since the practice was abolished in the 1960s by–yes, “Good” Pope John.


“According to reports out of the Vatican, elder clerics are complaining that clocking in and out is a headache when they have to leave the office on twice-weekly pastoral duty. The timekeeping scheme is part of a new meritocracy drive at the Vatican, which is set to introduce performance-related pay next year.”

That would be this year, 2009. The “elderly clerics” may have a point. But the Jesuits who run Vatican Radio had us lay folk on a punch-in time card way back when. Not that one couldn’t get around that. Not that I ever did… 

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posted June 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm

….I hope this question is not to crude…. but how much does a member of the clergy make anyway,…. there at the Vatican…. it can’t be much….. with the vow of poverty and all that…. so maybe its unfair to compare them to “regular” people…. I always thought that Mother Teresa needed some dental work…. and I figured she probably gave her slot to others, continually…
…what ever they recieve… I’m sure they are poorly compensated for their years of study and dedication…. they probably make less than teachers ect…

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posted June 13, 2009 at 8:16 pm

When a reporter once asked Pope John XXIII how many people work in the Vatican, he famously replied, “Oh, no more than half of them.”

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The Lady of All Nations

posted June 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm

I like that:
How many work in the Vatican?
about half.
That’s cute, America.
Yes, let’s pray for Christ in the Vatican,
He has a ‘harry’ enemy
sitting as pope working iniquity.
When things begin to change
at the Center of the Universe,
(which is Rome, Italy,Vatican City-
the Spiritual Center of all spiritual activity-
reflected in the realm of Nature and Ultimate Reality,
just keep up with and
when changes in Church Law
and governing Rulers are made in the Eternal City,
The Vatican,
then there is hope for the Just
and doom will begin to show itself
toward the Wicked:
the wicked thinkers,
the wicked liars,
the wicked deniers,
the wicked mighty,
the wicked rich,
the wicked christians,
the wicked worthless,
and the wicked reckless lawbreakers
who are working DEEDS of destruction
in the World and the Universe.
The Most Guilty are the Rulers of Nations
who listen to the Wicked Pope Benedict XVI
and carry out his wishes in DEEDS
by undermining Religion
and above all by
suppressing Christianity.
And it is the Religious Leaders
who are undermining the World
starting with John Paul II
carried over into the papacy
of Benedict XVI.
Satan is Three not One.
Christ alone is God
and there is NO OTHER.
Pray Benedict be driven by the holy Angels
into ‘retirement’
and the Christ rise to Kingship
in His Kingdom, the Roman-Catholic Church
which is being destroyed
from the Inside Out.
He, the same Christ
Who prophesied
“The Gates/Powers of Hell shall not prevail against Her/His Church”.
Then may things will turn out well for Us,
He is the Only One Who can bring Order back to the World,
but they must listen to Him,
the clerics in the Vatican.
Pray they open Their Hearts to Him,
and do what He Wills
from now on.
Expect Theology, Doctrine and Laws
presently governing the Catholic Church
to change
when He arises to the Papacy
and His Kingdom show Itself and comes in Power.
Who can stop the Day of the Lord?
There is no one.

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Your Name

posted June 14, 2009 at 7:56 am

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.To work for charity,we assume all the sacrifices that goes with it.Let our hearts
be joyful in helping others,and our theme should always be called sacrifice.God is merciful,and we are to manifest that image if we claim we are God’s children.God Bless the poor ones.

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posted June 14, 2009 at 9:44 am

It’s relieving, in a sense, that the Vatican is going through a ‘meritocracy’ just as many institutions are here. And I always thought that a job at the Vatican would be free from all that jazz. Just goes to show you…

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posted June 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm

…. they make, 860 dollars a year…..

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