Ka-ching: the salaries of clergy

One of the most common questions I get asked from the people in the pews is: “What does the parish pay you?”  The answer: Nada.  Zip. Zilch.  Zero.  I receive no salary from the parish.  I don’t get stipends for Masses, baptisms or weddings, either. Deacons are, in every sense, volunteers.  Our “outside” jobs support us and our families, and enable us to exercise our ministry.

But that’s not true for some other clergy members, who do get paid, and sometimes handsomely:

Among the leaders of the world’s major religions, rabbis tend to have higher annual salaries than their Catholic, Christian and Muslim counterparts, according to a new report by Slate.

Both Reform and Conservative rabbis earn an estimated average annual salary of around $140,000, while the median salary for full-time pastors at Protestant churches was just $40,000, the Jewish Daily Forward reports. Catholic priests and Muslim imams make even less, with average salaries of about $25,000 and $30,000 per year, respectively….

…A 2011 survey conducted by PayScale discovered that rabbis had an average annual salary of about $80,000, according to eHow Money. The report points out that the number varies depending on years of experience and where they preach.

And salaries for ministers and pastors among Christian denominations, on the other hand, can sometimes be as high as 400,000, according to the Christian Post.

Compared to other religious leaders, Catholic priests were paid the least, with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (Ohio) indicating they pay their priests a $26,884 base salary.

Salaries also vary significantly among imams, and, as Slate observes, there isn’t a lot of data on pay rates for the Muslim leaders.

However, an imam in Tennessee reported making between $31,000 and $34,000 per year on the online salary site Glassdoor. Similarly, a search of job listing website Simply Hired revealed an average salary of about $41,000 for the career.

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