Payrise for Sydney priests

Following disquiet over spending priorities in the Sydney archdiocese, Cardinal George Pell has announced that priests will receive an 8.7 per cent pay increase - their first raise in three years.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the priests, who are paid about a quarter the average full-time wage in NSW, are to get their first pay rise in three years.

According to Cardinal Pell the increase of 8.7 per cent reflects "cumulative CPI movements since the date of the last increase".

The increase came amid growing dissent about Cardinal Pell's spending priorities, the paper says. The archdiocese's 120 priests receive a monthly stipend of $1,150, in addition to household expenses, accommodation and use of car.

Earlier, the Catholica online journal reported that a Sydney priest, later identified as Balmain parish priest, Fr Joe Camilleri, had circulated a letter to "fellow priests" outlining clergy grievances.

According to the letter "there has been concern by priests with regard to the money spent by the Archdiocese on new initiatives" and goes on to argue that the archdiocese seems to have had little difficulty in justifying significant property purchases for the University of Notre Dame.

Fr Camilleri's letter also cited a case where after pressure from priests archdiocesan authorities responded to the needs of an 85-year-old retired priest who was left without transport when his car was written off in an accident.

The letter also expressed concerned about clergy appointments in the diocese.

"It is remarkable that the Archdiocese has decided not to replace the Director of Catholic Mission with a Sydney diocesan priest.

"This was the case with the replacement of the Adult Education Director and the Director of Liturgy. There is also no Sydney diocesan priest involved with the running of World Youth Day on an inter-diocesan level," Fr Camilleri's letter states.

The letter also claims that the archdiocese paid $5 million for a property in Chippendale for the University of Notre Dame Australia to use.

It also said the archdiocese would allocate $80 million to $100 million to stage next year's World Youth Day.

Priests letter reveals Sydney priests pleading for a salary increase and expressing disquiet over some diocesan appointments (Catholica, 20/6/07)
Pell increases Sydney priests' pay for first time in three years (Sydney Morning Herald, 21/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Sydney Archdiocese | St Joseph, Rozelle

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Victorian Catholic teachers get bigger pay rise (CathNews, 25/7/04)

21 Jun 2007