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Vatican employees miss out on 'new pope' bonuses

A double loss for workers who never got 'papal death' tip

18 April, 16:47
Vatican employees miss out on 'new pope' bonuses (ANSA) - Vatican City, April 18 - In keeping with his desire to lead "a poor church," Pope Benedict has opted not to give out the customary bonus to the roughly 4,000 Vatican employees upon the inauguration of a new pope. According to French news agency I.Media, the move amounts to a double loss for Vatican workers, ranging from clerks and cleaners to pharmacists and butlers, who also missed out on the traditional gratuity handed out upon the death of a pope, given that in February Benedict XVI became the first pope in 700 years to voluntarily resign from an otherwise lifetime appointment. While the amount of the bonus varies, it is usually significant. In 2005, Vatican employees received 1,500 euros each - 1,000 upon the death of John Paul II, and 500 upon the election of Benedict. Some employees remember the particularly fruitful bonuses of 1978, the year John Paul died after 33 days in office, leading to a second conclave to elect his successor. Vatican watchers say that times are different and coffers are light amid the global economic crisis. Sources also say the pope, who told the press three days after his election he wanted "a poor Church, a Church for the poor," has instead given part of the employee bonus money to charity.