Frugal Francis likely to scrap bonuses

2013-04-18 22:10
Pope Francis (Gregorio Borgia, AP)

Pope Francis (Gregorio Borgia, AP)

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Rome - Pope Francis, who is quickly earning a reputation for frugality since taking office last month, is likely to scrap a traditional bonus given to Vatican staff, a spokesperson for the Holy See said on Thursday.

The bonus is usually paid to Vatican employees to mark special occasions such as the deaths and elections of popes.

But Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi said: "I don't think there will be any bonus.

"Extra expenses are something that might be normal in a situation of abundance, but that is not the world we find ourselves in now."

Lombardi added that he was referring to the general economic climate rather than any specific need for cost-cutting at the Vatican.

Pope Francis, who took his name after a saint who chose to live in poverty, has shunned the palatial papal flats and forgone customary ornate dress in an effort to forge a more humble, less lavish papacy.

He asked his fellow countrymen not to make costly trips from Argentina to Rome to see his inaugural mass and to donate the money to charity instead.

Francis' predecessor Benedict gave workers €500 each and a day off to mark his 80th birthday.

To mark Benedict's election and the death of John Paul II in 2005, employees were paid €1 500. The decision affects about 4 000 employees.

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