Francis Uses Christmas Speech to Criticize Vatican Bureaucracy

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from The New York Times,

Pope Francis excoriated the Vatican bureaucracy in his traditional Christmas address on Monday, saying that some of the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Roman Catholic Church suffer from a “spiritual Alzheimer’s.”

In his annual speech, Francis warned against what he called a lust for power, hypocritical double lives and the lack of spiritual empathy among some men of God. He listed the 15 “ailments and temptations” that weaken their service to the Lord, inviting them to a “true self-examination” ahead of Christmas.

In strong yet colorful language, Francis criticized the Curia, the administration that runs the Holy See, for a narcissistic “pathology of power” and “existential schizophrenia.”

He suggested that his prelates pay an “ordinary visit to the cemeteries,” and encouraged them to examine and improve themselves.

“Brothers, let’s guard ourselves from the terrorism of gossip,” Francis told the rows of bishops and cardinals seated in a 16th-century reception hall in the Apostolic Palace, some looking ahead attentively, others meditatively keeping their heads down.

The “ailment of close circles,” he added, “enslaves their members and becomes a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body.”

Including himself among the sinners, Francis, the first Latin American pope, stressed once more his idea of a church at the service of the poor and the peripheries, a religious institution able to move away from scandals, infighting and lavish behaviors.

“This is the ideological and religious manifesto of a radical reform of the Curia,” Carlo Marroni, a Vatican expert with the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore, said. “He doesn’t describe the details of the reform that we will most likely see next year, but he indicated the principles according to which the Church has to change, at least in the pope’s intentions.”

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