When it comes to the salaries of the many lay people helping to run the Catholic Church in the United States, the highest paid lay positions tend to be administrative: lawyers, finance directors and communications professionals. At the low end of the pay scale are pastoral positions, such as vocations directors and ministers serving prisoners and college students. As for priests, their salaries and other benefits, such as housing and car allowances, are on the rise.
Those are the findings of a recently released report commissioned by the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators and the National Federation of Priests Councils and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
When it comes to clergy, new Catholic priests, which includes bishops, can expect a salary somewhere in the mid-$20,000 range, with median salaries varying slightly depending on geography. The highest median salary for a new priest is in the Midwest, at $29,856, while the lowest median salary, $24,960, is found in the Central region, which spans from Minnesota to Texas. The maximum salary for priests ranges from $29,744 in the West region to $44,417 in the Midwest.
Diocesan priests do not take vows of poverty and according to canon law they should be paid enough to “provide for the necessities of their life” as well as to donate to charitable causes.
Michal Kramarek, a researcher at C.A.R.A., pointed out on the organization’s blog that salary is just a part of a priest’s overall compensation.
“The salary is the first, and often most substantial component of diocesan priest’s taxable income,” he wrote. “The second component, other taxable cash income, constitutes about 20 cents of every dollar of priests’ income and includes, for example, an allowance for housing and food as well as Mass stipends, retained stole fees, and bonuses.”
By comparison, the average compensation for full-time Episcopal priests is $75,355 per year, according to a 2015 report by the Church Pension Group. This includes nonsalary compensation such as the payment of school fees for children.
According to a 2013 survey by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the average salary of Lutheran clergy ranged from $45,666 to $79,433.
Priests generally do not receive any additional salary when assigned to lead multiple parishes, an increasingly common scenario as dioceses struggle with priest shortages.
Full story at America Magazine.