22 December 2014, The Tablet

Francis damns ‘diseased’ Curia for its vanity

Pope Francis has delivered a stinging critique of the Roman Curia, describing it as “sick with power and greed”.

At his annual Christmas meeting with the Vatican’s senior bureaucrats this morning Pope Francis listed 15 “diseases” that he said had infected the Curia, from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” to joylessness and “existential schizophrenia”.

Reform of the Church's governing body has been high on his list of priorities since his election, but this speech was Francis’ strongest condemnation of the Curia to date.

Having spent very little time wishing the Vatican’s senior officials a happy Christmas, Francis plunged into a series of damning rebukes that opened by calling the Curia a small model of the Church, a complex body that strives to be united to Christ.

But, like human bodies, it was vulnerable to disease and infection, he said.

He went on to condemn officials for “excessive” functionalism and micro-management, poor coordination, grumbling and gossip.

The damning speech warned Curial officials against “rivalry and vainglory”, “indifference towards others” and an excessive concern for worldly profit. Only the Holy Spirit could heal these diseases, Francis concluded, before asking the officials, their families and employees to pray for him.

Above: Pope Francis addresses the Curia in 2013. Photo: CNS

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