Pope Francis Cuts Vatican Bonuses, Redirects Money to Charity

Pope Francis continues implementing changes in the Vatican and his latest decision was to redirect money from traditional bonuses to 4,500 city state employees and use it for charity purposes.

"I don't think there will be any bonus," said Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, as reported by The Telegraph.

"Extra expenses are something that might be normal in a situation of abundance, but that is not the world we find ourselves in now. It didn't seem possible or appropriate to burden the Vatican's budget with a considerable, unforeseen extra expense."

The new pope, who succeeded the aging Benedict XVI, took the name of the ascetic St. Francis of Assisi, one of the early church reformers, and has continued choosing modest options over lavish ones. While Archbishop of Buenos Aries, he would often take the bus to work rather than being driven around, and as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, he has chosen to live in a modest Vatican accommodation block instead of palatial apartments.

The bonuses that are being cut are traditionally handed out with the election of a new pope, but given the global economic troubles and Pope Francis' insistence to make the Vatican "a poor church for the poor," that money will now go to various charity purposes. When John Paul II died in 2005, Vatican employees from both the lay and religious sections each received $2,500 in bonuses.

Lombardi said that the money will go to the pope's personal charity budget "as a sign of the church's attention for the many people who are suffering."

Much like Italy and the rest of Europe, the Vatican has experienced some notable financial struggles, and posted a $20 million shortfall in 2011.

Last week, Pope Francis took one of his first major steps as pontiff by appointing an eight-member advisory board of cardinals from around the world who will help him bring changes to the Vatican's administration.