Southern Religion

The Pope’s salary

The salary and/or other remuneration of the Southern Baptist Convention president has been subject to some debate. His salary is reported to be nothing, although the SBC files no detailed, public financial reports.

As was made clear in the New York Times several years ago after a moment of confusion about the matter, the Pope in Rome has a salary of nothing.

The Vatican spokesman, Joaquín Navarro-Valls, ended speculation about the Pope’s salary, saying, ”The Pope does not and has never received a salary.” An ambiguous statement by Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani had suggested that the Pope did receive a salary. [07/20/2001]

The Holy See makes the details public:

The pope has the resources of the Holy See at his disposal. He can take out as much as he needs to carry out his mission and his duties. All the recent popes, on the occasion of their deaths, have left everything they personally owned to the Holy See, with the exception of some little gifts that Pope Paul VI left to his personal secretary and to some of his close relatives. The Holy See annually publishes a complete financial report which includes the expenses of the Pontifical Household. Gifts that come to the pope from heads of state around the world and similar gifts go to the Vatican Museums, where they are often on display for the public to view.

Vatican financial disclosures are available to the press. They are sometimes the subject of news stories, which of course are not always flattering. The British Guardian wrote last year:

The Vatican has blamed the weak dollar for pushing it into its first loss in four years.

Annual accounts published yesterday showed that the Holy See dipped into the red last year, recording a loss of €9.1m (£7.25m). It said this was “due mainly to sharp and very pronounced trend reversal in fluctuation of exchange rates, particularly the US dollar”.

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February 23, 2009 - Posted by | Catholic, Economy, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , ,


  1. More important than the question of salary for the SBC president, which is an elected 2-year term office, is the question of salary/benefits for the permanent SBC officials — people such as the president of the SBC Executive Committee. These long-entrenched religious powerbrokers are the ones who wield the most power and the ones whose financial compensation packages are the most difficult to find out. Their salaries are funded with money that ordinary people put in Baptist offering, and so those salaries should be fully disclosed. People are entitled to know.

    Comment by Christa Brown | February 23, 2009

    • Your point is well-taken, Christa. If the SBC were forthcoming about permanent staff salaries, Baptists who are putting money in the plate as it is passed down the pew could make a reasonable assessment of how their money is being spent in Nashville.

      Comment by baptistplanet | February 23, 2009

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