Catholic priest salaries

Updated January 11, 2017

Catholic priests work for two groups within the Catholic church: diocesan and religious. Those working in the diocesan sector serve the people of a particular region under assignment by that region's bishop. Religious priests concentrate on teaching, missionary work and studying under supervision of a particular order (Jesuits, Dominicans, Anglicans). These groups also determine the salary structure for Catholic priests, which ranges from no salary to minimal wages.

Vow of Poverty

A career as a Catholic priest is by no means a lucrative one. Upon being admitted to priesthood, Catholic priests may take a vow of poverty and may be required to do so if they work for a religious group as opposed to diocesan group. However, a vow to poverty does not mean that priests have no income at all. In fact, some priests may work as university professors or hold other full-time jobs. For those that have taken a vow to poverty, they must turn their paychecks over to their religious superiors. In exchange, they may receive a monthly allowance of approximately £65, a car, clothing and free residency in a home or in a parish designated by their group (as of 2011).

Average Salary

According to, the average salary for a Catholic priest is £28,600 as of 2011. This is more reflective of a diocesan priest salary. Also, this salary takes into consideration the following: car allowance, retirement plan, residence in a parish or rectory, meals and health insurance. Monetary compensation is usually between £9,750 and £13,000. According to the Diocese of Cleveland, "the base salary for active Diocesan or religious priests serving in Diocesan parishes and institutions is to be £1,361 per month" through June 30, 2010. Thus, religious priests may earn monetary compensation if they work for a diocesan group.

Base Pay

In addition to the £1,361 per month salary for diocesan priests each month, they are entitled to an additional £6 per month base pay -- an additional £78 per year -- each year in which they are ordained according to the diocesan Priest Remuneration and Benefits Package. After 20 years of ordination, priests receive an extra £9 per month.

Other Earnings

Catholic priests may also receive fees for conducting mass, £6 per mass as of 2010 according to the Priest Remuneration and Benefit Package. They also receive fees for officiating wedding ceremonies, funerals and baptisms. Priests who conduct mass on Sunday may receive a £32 stipend and £16 for a confession as of 2010.

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About the Author

Leonard Dozier is a freelance writer based in southern New Jersey and New York. His film and sports columns have been published by "Casino Connection Magazine" and Trev Rogers sports respectively. A prolific and extremely versatile writer, he is an ASCAP songwriter and has written screenplays and stage plays registered with the Writer's Guild of America.