Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, concluded this year with the Pope’s usual Christmas speech for the Vatican Curia, comprised of the bishops, cardinals, and priests who run the central administration of the church.
In the assembly, Francis focused on “15 ailments” of the Vatican Curia that he felt were of the utmost importance to acknowledge and address. According to The Guardian…
“Francis, the first pope born in the Americas, has refused many of the trappings of office and made plain his determination to bring the church’s hierarchy closer to its 1.2 billion members.”
Not only has the Argentine Pope spent past birthdays with the homeless, he has also used the notoriety he’s gained since becoming leader of the Catholic Church in 2013 to influence the world in many other positive ways.
One recent example is the essential role he played this year in helping to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba (the U.S. has had an economic embargo on Cuba since 1960).
Francis reached out to President Obama on a number of occasions to encourage an end to the embargo, and helped moderate a number of the meetings between the two countries. He also played host to the final meeting, which was held at the Vatican.
Of the Pope’s list of ailments that he says have, “plagued the Vatican’s power-hungry bureaucracy”, he put heavy emphasis on the “disease” of feeling “immortal and essential”, saying…
“Sometimes [officials] feel themselves ‘lords of the manor’ – superior to everyone and everything…
These and other maladies and temptations are a danger for every Christian and for any administrative organisation … and can strike at both the individual and the corporate level.”
The Pope also referenced the idea of “Spiritual Alzheimer’s” – a metaphor referencing a process by which leaders of the Catholic Church slowly loose sight of what’s important, and forget they are suppose to be joyful in life and in service, not power hungry or bitter.
Pope Francis’s somewhat scathing critique of the Vatican Curia serves as yet another indication that he is devoted to significant reforms within the Catholic Church, while also setting an example for all of the bureaucracies of the world- religious, governmental or otherwise.
Below is the complete list of Pope Francis’s 15 “ailments” of the Vatican Curia…
- Feeling immortal, immune or indispensable. “A Curia that doesn’t criticize itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.”
- Working too hard. “Rest for those who have done their work is necessary, good and should be taken seriously.”
- Becoming spiritually and mentally hardened. “It’s dangerous to lose that human sensibility that lets you cry with those who are crying, and celebrate those who are joyful.”
- Planning too much. “Preparing things well is necessary, but don’t fall into the temptation of trying to close or direct the freedom of the Holy Spirit, which is bigger and more generous than any human plan.”
- Working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise. “When the foot tells the hand, ‘I don’t need you’ or the hand tells the head ‘I’m in charge.'”
- Having ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s.’ “We see it in the people who have forgotten their encounter with the Lord … in those who depend completely on their here and now, on their passions, whims and manias, in those who build walls around themselves and become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands.”
- Being rivals or boastful. “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life.”
- Suffering from ‘existential schizophrenia.’ “It’s the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy that is typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that academic degrees cannot fill. It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people.”
- Committing the ‘terrorism of gossip.’ “It’s the sickness of cowardly people who, not having the courage to speak directly, talk behind people’s backs.”
- Glorifying one’s bosses. “It’s the sickness of those who court their superiors, hoping for their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honor people who aren’t God.”
- Being indifferent to others. “When, out of jealousy or cunning, one finds joy in seeing another fall rather than helping him up and encouraging him.”
- Having a ‘funereal face.’ “In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes.”
- Wanting more. “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure.”
- Forming ‘closed circles’ that seek to be stronger than the whole. “This sickness always starts with good intentions but as time goes by, it enslaves its members by becoming a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body and causes so much bad — scandals — especially to our younger brothers.”
- Seeking worldly profit and showing off. “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.
Read the original story from The Guardian.