Parish priests in late eighteenth-century Malta often grumbled about their poverty, but their excuses were generally self-serving and related to the financial demands of their bishop; like incumbents in mainland Europe, they were not in a bad financial situation. Their relative affluence was a result of revenues such as tithes, mass legacies and surplice fees. In small communities this income may have been tiny, but parish priests were not entirely dependent on parochial revenues, since they were generally drawn from middle-rank families and might possess personal wealth in addition.
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