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Bishop seeks to answer question: how much should priests be paid?

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/07/15


I’ve never heard of a diocese doing something like this before—or, at least, being so candid about it. But the Diocese of Providence has undertaken a study to determine appropriate compensation for its priests.

From Providence’s Bishop Thomas Tobin in Aleteia:

Diocesan priests, unlike priests in religious communities, do not take a vow of poverty. Although in accord with the spirit of the Gospel and the law of the Church they are to “cultivate a simple style of life and avoid whatever has the semblance of vanity” (Canon 282) they are nonetheless responsible for many of their daily expenses and should have sufficient funds to provide for a reasonable lifestyle. The law of the Church also encourages priests to use “superfluous goods for the good of the Church and for works of charity.” Our priests have entrusted their lives to the Church; they’ve made personal sacrifices; they often work very hard. They surely deserve just compensation for their labors. As Jesus himself emphasized when he sent his disciples on their mission, “the laborer deserves his payment.” (Lk 10:7) Second, in discussing compensation for priests, it’s important to keep in mind the broader pastoral context, namely that some of our parishes and institutions have very limited financial resources and are struggling to survive. Paying for the services of a full-time priest is a pretty expensive proposition, especially for a small or financially strapped parish. …As an additional consideration, in discussing compensation for priests, it’s critical to avoid any hint of a mercenary spirit or worldly “professionalism.” Priests have responded to a call from Christ – they have a vocation, not merely a profession. They never sell sacraments or charge for their ministry.

Read it all. 

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