Elizabeth Scalia responds here to the accusations about enormous salaries being earned by professional Catholics.
Here’s my take on the evangelist’s pay scale:
If you work for free you’re just a volunteer. You must not be very qualified, and anyway, what you’re doing isn’t work, it’s just a hobby. It’s okay to impinge on your work hours. It’s also okay to make you feel guilty for not doing more of it.
If you work for a pittance you must not be very good at it, or you’d be earning more. Also, shame on you for accepting financial assistance from the government. You should go out and get a real job.
If you work for a modest living wage, you probably couldn’t do any better in the private sector, anyway. Also, how are your kids going to pay for college? You should get a real job.
If you work for a respectable middle- to upper-middle class income, you’re in it for the money. Don’t you know immigrants are living ten to a single-bedroom apartment? Don’t you care about people? Despicable professional Catholics. Also, you probably don’t care about the Gospel, just your paycheck.
If you work for a professional salary, commensurate with your skill and experience, you’re a sleazy money-grubbing con artist. It would be okay to work as an engineer, or an accountant, or a doctor, or even as a professor or an advertising guy, for that kind of money. But you absolutely must not accept a professional salary for doing professional work of the top caliber, if that work is related to the Catholic faith.
If you run a vast and highly accomplished organization, and accept a salary that vaguely approaches something sort of like a shadow of what senior managers and CEO’s in the private sector earn, you’re working your way straight to Hell, one paycheck at a time. Good Christians run car dealerships if they want that kind of money. Also, even though you’ve essentially walked away from millions of dollars in would-have-been wages had you worked with the same diligence in the private sector, you can’t be trusted to be generous and intelligent about how you spend your spare income. You might be able to sneak into purgatory if you pay enough taxes (leftist critic) or contribute to the pundit’s cause (right wing critic).
So, how much should an evangelist earn? About 25% less than the pundit.