Peter’s Pence


The name traditionally given to an annual contribution or tribute from the faithful of various countries to the Holy See, used by the Pope for the current expenses of his administration. It bears the name “Peterspence” because in England, in Saxon times, each householder holding land of a certain value gave a penny. Most probably it began in the reign of King Offa, in 787, and spread from England to other nations of northern Europe. At the time of the Reformation it ceased throughout the world, and was not reestablished until the reign of Pope Pius IX. It is now observed by Catholics everywhere. For the most part, contributions are sent to Rome through the bishops. In some countries the funds are collected through various “Peterspence Associations.” In the United States, this collection for the Pope is taken up annually in all churches.

MLA Citation

  • “Peter’s Pence”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 14 August 2013. Web. 3 March 2021. <>