Cost of Conclaves


Why are Conclaves so expensive to run? I’ve been sudying about this a bit, and I’ve figured out where some of the expenses are:

-Extra security (though most of that would fall on the shoulders of the Italian government, not the Vatican)
-Scaffolding and accomodations for where the media is stationed
-Electronic Sweeps for listening devices
-Vestments for the burial
-Constructing a new Fisherman’s Ring, Pallium and Vestments for the new Pope
-Providing cassocks for the new Pope (it appears that they just re-use Mass vestments instead of buying new ones)
-Bonus pay for Vatican workers (not sure if they still do this; see below)
-Burial items for the old Pope (the coffin won’t cost much, but they have to pay to construct the tomb and the other items buried with him)
-Printing the books and programmes for the ceremonies (though I’m guessing this won’t cost a horribly large amount since the Vatican has its own printing facilities)

The Press Corps would cost money, but thankfully, the Vatican doesn’t have to pay them. Presumably, the Cardinals would also pay for their own plane tickets.

I read that in the 19th century, they decided to give the Holy See’s workers bonus pay for the extra work they’d be doing – a whole month’s pay for the death of the last pope and a whole month’s pay for the election of a new one. I’m guessing that’s the primary cost, but I’ve done a lot of reading on this and I can’t find out if this is still even done.

I thought maybe they buy new vestments for the Cardinals who concelebrate Mass together for this occassion, but I don’t know if that’s the case; I know that Cardinals pay for their own red cassocks and birrettas for the consistory when they are brought into the College; they get their measurements done, write their names inside their Birrettas then send it in the day before the ceremony. While I’m guessing the new Cardinals’ Rings are paid for by the Vatican as a gift from the Pope (as a sign that the Cardinalate is a present from the Pope), their clothes are their own expense. So in going with that, perhaps they pay for their own concelebration vestments too.

Thankfully, Conclaves today aren’t as expensive as they would have been before John Paul II opened the Domus Sanctae Marthae for the Cardinals. Back then, they’d need to construct temp rooms in the Apostolic Palace, which would cost a lot; at times, they also needed to rent their cots and things like that from hotels if they can’t borrow them from seminaries.

But, what are the other expenses that make Conclaves so expensive?


Whatever the cost, it is worth it as we get a new pope. A new successor in the unbroken line going back to Peter. A new Vicar of Christ on earth, picked by the Holy Spirit. How can you put a cost on this.?
Prayers & blessings
Deacon Ed B


Yes, I wasn’t complaining about the cost. My questions are more advanced than that.

I think my original post was clear that I’m not complaining about the cost. It’s a necessary expense, like college or clothing. I was just asking what makes them so expensive.


I don’t know what a conclave costs, but shortly after John Paul II became pope he wanted a swimming pool. * Apparently he got some flak over the cost. He reminded them that it would be a lot cheaper than holding another conclave. :D*


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