Pontiff exhorts Vatican clerics
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis warned Vatican administrators on Saturday that their work can take a downward spiral into mediocrity, gossip and bureaucratic squabbling if they forget that theirs is a professional vocation of service to the church.
Francis made the comments in his Christmas address to the Vatican Curia, the bureaucracy that forms the central government of the 1.2 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church. The speech was eagerly anticipated, given that Francis was elected in March on a mandate to overhaul the antiquated and often dysfunctional Vatican administration.
Heads have started to roll.
Last week, Francis reshuffled the powerful Congregation for Bishops, the office that vets all the world's bishop nominations. He removed the archconservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a key figure in the U.S. culture wars over abortion and gay marriage. He nixed the head of Italy's bishops' conference and a hard-line Italian, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, earlier axed as head of the Vatican office responsible for priests.
Francis thanked the cardinals, bishops and priests gathered in Clementine Hall for the address for their work, diligence and creativity.
But he reminded them that Vatican officials must display professionalism and competence as well as holiness.
“When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow drift downwards toward mediocrity. Dossiers become full of trite and lifeless information, and incapable of opening up lofty perspectives,” Francis said. “Then too, when the attitude is no longer one of service to the particular churches and their bishops, the structure of the Curia turns into a ponderous, bureaucratic customshouse, constantly inspecting and questioning, hindering the working of the Holy Spirit and the growth of God's people.”
The pontiff repeated a warning he has issued in his morning homilies at the Vatican hotel where he lives: an admonition against gossiping. The secretive, closed world of the Vatican is a den of gossip, as revealed publicly last year by the leaks of papal documents from then-Pope Benedict XVI's butler.
Francis called for officials to exercise “conscientious objection to gossip.”
“Mind you, I'm not simply moralizing! Gossip is harmful to people, our work and our surroundings.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Train with Ukraine plane crash bodies leaves rebel town
- Putin’s stance on Ukraine is bad for business, Russian billionaires say
- Iraq prime minister condemns extremist targeting of Christians
- ‘Explosion of evil’ in Europe against Jews condemned
- Shot-down Malaysian airliner ‘is terrible blow,’ British envoy tells Trib
- Italy’s former premier acquitted in sex-for-hire appeal
- Ukraine says rebels covering up truth at crash site