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Europe

Vatican Rewards Employees on Merit Basis

The Vatican has announced it will give financial rewards to employees who are doing a good job, starting at the beginning of next year.

A row of cardinals wearing white robes, red capes and red hats walks up to St Peter's Cathederal

If they aren't good enough, Vatican employees won't get a bonus

The Vatican says it will take into account issues such as "dedication, professionalism, productivity and correctitude" when awarding a pay rise, in statement released on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

It says that "this novelty brings an element of incentive and remuneration into the Vatican salary system."

View of St. Peters Cathedral in Rome

The Vatican is the smallest state in the world

The decision was made yesterday morning at a meeting presided over by the Vatican's secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone, who in just over a year, has revolutionized the structure of the Vatican.

Currently, the salary of those in service at the Vatican go from around 1,300 euros ($1,900) at level one to 2,300 at level 10 (to which are added payments for health insurance and superannuation).

New cardinals for Vatican

Meanwhile, the Vatican has also set to inaugurate 23 new Roman Catholic prelates who are set to join the Vatican's College of Cardinals, the elite body that advises the pontiff and elects his successor upon his death, at the weekend.

Pope Benedict XVI will consecrate the new cardinals in Saint Peter's Square on Saturday and confer on them the traditional ring and bright red hat symbolizing the blood of the martyrs during a mass on Sunday.

Cardinals wearing red hats and black caps gather at the Vatican

After Saturday, there will be 201 cardinals in the Vatican

The newcomers will bring the total number of cardinals to 201, of whom 120 are young enough -- under 80 -- to take part in a papal election.

The new influx barely alters the geographical balance of the College of Cardinals, which is heavily weighted in favor of Europe.

Forty-two of the total are Italian, half of them under 80. Thirteen Europeans join two North Americans, four Latin Americans, two Africans and two Asians in the second group of cardinals nominated by Benedict since he was elected pope in April 2005.

Fifteen were inducted in March 2006.

Europe accounts for an increasingly shrinking percentage of the overall Catholic population, while nearly half of the world's Catholics are in Latin America, which combined with Africa and Asia make up some two-thirds of the 1.1 billion-strong church.

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