From what I have read, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI actually does earn pretty serious money (in the region of several millions) from his books. However, it all goes into a foundation in his name to be spent on educational and charitable activities. I read that now that he is retired, he gets €30,000 p.a. I’d be interested to know what he spends it on. My guess would be that most of that goes to charity as well, because the pope emeritus probably doesn’t really have to buy anything. The fact that popes don’t generally retire is a good reason for their not needing any personal wealth. But you do raise a curious question. Say if the pope’s family members come over to visit him from Argentina, can he take them out for a pizza? Possibly in Rome it would be considered such an honor to have the pope and his family in your restaurant that it would all be on the house. I’m sure I have read that Pope Benedict didn’t have to pay for his grand piano, for example.
I remember reading something about the personal wealth of cardinals. Again, it seemed that a lot of cardinals live a fairly expensive lifestyle, e.g. lots of flights if they don’t live in the Vatican, impressive residences, etc, but that all this is covered by the Church or Catholic charities. They mostly have very little personal money.
I am reminded a bit of the situation with US presidents until Truman. When Truman retired, his only income was from his army pension of $1,350 p.a. (about $13,170 today), which obviously made him pretty poor compared with the average US citizen at the time. Even his memoirs only earned him the equivalent of $360,000 today, which sounds like a lot of money but is very little compared with people like the Clintons and the Obamas (one could hardly compare the Bushes or President Trump, who come from money already). Added to that, he was also in debt and had to sell off his small inheritance from his parents. So, that is why Congress began to provide a pension for former presidents. I think it’s very much to Hoover’s credit that he accepted the pension despite being a wealthy man: $25,000 p.a. is not a lot to the federal government of the United States, and the fact that Hoover accepted it avoided causing embarrassment to Truman.