Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis has ordered cardinals to take a 10 per cent pay cut and slash the salaries of most other clerics working in the Vatican as a way of saving jobs of employees following the negative effect of the corona virus pandemic on income of the Holy See.

The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis issued a decree introducing proportional cuts starting on April 1, according to a spokesman who added that most lay employees would not be affected by the cuts.

Pope Francis has often insisted that he does not want to fire people in difficult economic times, even as the Vatican continues to run up deficits.

Cardinals who work at the Vatican and live there or in Rome are believed to get salaries of about 4,000-5,000 euros a month, and many live in large apartments at well below market rents.

Most priests and nuns who work in Vatican departments live in religious communities in Rome, such as seminaries, convents, parishes, universities and schools – giving them greater protection from economic downturns.

They have much lower living expenses than lay employees – such as police, ushers, firefighters, cleaners, art restorers and maintenance personnel – who live in Rome and many of whom have families.

It is these lay workers who the Pope appeared to want to protect, as most of their employment levels were not listed in the papal decree.

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