Vatican Curia gets Christmas bonus with a difference

Power grabbing, living hypocritical double lives, curial and personal rivalry, gossip, and over concern about their appearance and the colour of their robes are among just some of the sins Pope Francis’ identified as belonging to the Vatican Curia.

The blistering indictment of the Vatican Curia came at the Pope’s Christmas message.

The Pope’s top administrators met Monday expecting the usual exchange of Christmas pleasantries.

Instead Francis’ delivered a stinging critique of them and their approach to their ministries.

Careerism, scheming, greed, a lack of joy and a hart-hearted mindset had infected them with “Spiritual Alzheimers”, the pontiff said.

The Holy Father listed no fewer than 15 “sicknesses and temptations” and told the gathering that some of the Curia acted as if they were “immortal, immune or even indispensable”.

Vatican watchers say they have never heard such a powerful, violent speech from a pope.

“This is a speech without historic precedent,” church historian Alberto Melloni, a contributor to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, told Nicole Winfield in a telephone interview.

“If the pope uses this tone, it’s because he knows it’s necessary.”

Looking for a motive for the Pope’s comments Vatican watchers suggest it is informed by the results of a secret investigation ordered by Emeritus Pope Benedict in the aftermath of the 2012 Vatileaks scandal.

The results of the report, written by three trusted cardinals, is known only to the two popes.

Among Francis’ comments he asked

  • How the “terrorism of gossip” can “kill the reputation of our colleagues and brothers in cold blood.”
  • How cliques can “enslave their members and become a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body” and eventually kill it off by “friendly fire.”
  • How some suffer from “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” forgetting what drew them to the priesthood in the first place.

The cardinals appeared to not be amused.

Few smiled as Francis spoke and at the end of the speech offered only ‘tepid’ applause.

Ending on an upbeat note, Francis wished them all a Happy Christmas! He also urged the Curia to be more joyful saying how much good a “dose of humour” could do.

After his speech Pope Francis greeted each one, but little Christmas cheer was in the room.



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