POPE Francis issued a blistering critique on Vatican bureaucracy, denouncing those who lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, which has made them forget they’re supposed to be men of God.
His Christmas greeting yesterday to the cardinals, bishops and priests of the Holy See was no joyful message. Rather, it was a sobering catalogue of 15 sins of the Curia, which Francis hopes will be atoned for in the new year.
He spoke of 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 how those living hypocritical double lives are “typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that no academic degree can fill”.
He added: “The Curia is called on to always improve itself and grow in communion, holiness and knowledge to fulfill its mission. But even it, as any human body, can suffer from ailments, dysfunctions, illnesses.”
Francis, the first Latin American pope, never worked in the Italian-dominated Curia before he was elected and has not shied away from criticising the power intrigues that afflict the Holy See. As his reform agenda gathers steam, he seems more emboldened to highlight what ails the institution.
The cardinals were not amused. The speech was met with tepid applause, and few smiled as Pope Francis listed 15 “ailments of the Curia”.