Pope Francis Curia

Many are left with a wide variety of reactions after Pope Francis discussed 15 different aspects of the Catholic Church he felt were ailing in his Curia.

In the annual Christmas exchange among the Vatican, Pope Francis made a powerfully critical speech of the bureaucracy, or the Curia. He called upon the Curia to “improve itself, always improve itself and grow in communion, holiness, and knowledge to fully realize its mission.” He warned that the Curia that doesn’t improve is operating similar to a sick body. He went on to say that, while “it’s nice to think of the Roman Curia as a little model church, that is a body that every day seeks to become more unified and harmonious,” it is “in reality” a “complex body with different elements that don’t have the same job but are coordinated to work in an exemplary, disciplined effective way, despite the cultural and linguistic diversity of its members.”

The Curia’s 15 Ailments plague the Catholic Church

According to Pope Francis, there are 15 ailments that are particularly rough on the Curia. He started with the feeling of “immortality, immunity or indispensability,” adding that “a Curia that doesn’t criticize itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.” With pauses between each ailment to allow the congregation to reflect, he continued onward. Next on the list was working too hard, stating that rest is “necessary, good and should be taken seriously.” He said there are those who have lost their ability to “cry with those who are crying and celebrate those who are joyful,” ones who have become mentally and spiritually hardened. Others attempt to control their environment, to ensure they “plan everything in minute detail” while believing “that, through this, things progress effectively.” Following those were bad coordination, and spiritual Alzheimer’s, an affliction of “progressive decline of spiritual faculties” in those who “have lost their memory of their encounter with the Lord.”

He said that the congregation suffers from rivalry and vainglory, when “the appearance, the color of vestments and honors become the first objectives of life,” and existential schizophrenia in those living “a double life, a result of the hypocrisy typical of mediocre people and advancing spiritual emptiness.” He made it known he heard of the gossip and chatter that can end in “friendly fire,” of those defying their leaders and “courting their superiors” and treating others with indifference. He spoke of those with “funeral face” who are scared and insecure, hoarders who cannot fill their emptiness and closed circles that “enslave its members becoming a ‘cancer’ that threatens the harmony of the body and causes illnesses.” His final critique was of those who sought worldly profit and exhibitionism, “the disease of those people who relentlessly seek to increase their powers.”

Pope Francis ended his speech reassuring the Curia, “We are therefore required, at this Christmas time, and in all the time of our service and existence – to live speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, make the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

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