Pope Francis - Copyright AGF s.r.l. / REX

Pope's blistering attack on Vatican bureaucracy

Tue 23 Dec 2014
By Antony Bushfield

Pope Francis has launched a scathing attack on the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him saying some clergy lust for power at all costs and live hypocritical double lives.

During his Christmas address to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See Francis said there was a sense of "spiritual Alzheimer's," where some had forgotten they're working for God.

He outlined 15 sins of the Curia, including the "terrorism of gossip" and "pathology of power," and promised to fix them in the new year.

The pontiff said gossip can "kill the reputation of our colleagues and brothers in cold blood" and added that Church cliques can "enslave their members and become a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body".

Francis is one of few non Italians in the Vatican and he has previously complained of 'careerism' within the Catholic Church.

Listening to the speech the cardinals gave a tepid applause and few smiled.

At the end of the speech, he asked the clergy to pray that the "wounds of the sins that each one of us carries are healed".

There are currently plans being drawn up to revamp the whole bureaucratic structure at the Vatican.

The Pope's list of Curia sins included the "ailment of feeling immortal, immune or even indispensable".

He listed the rest as being vain, wanting to accumulate things, having a "hardened heart", wooing superiors for personal gain, having a "funereal face" and being too "rigid, tough and arrogant", especially towards underlings.

Francis also talked about people working too hard and planning ahead too much.

Associate editor and Vatican Correspondent for the Christian based America magazine, Gerard O'Connell, told Premier's News Hour the Pope doesn't have a great relationship with the Curia.

"He's engaged in a major shakeup, a major restricting, of the Curia which will mean at the end of the day you will have less bishops and less cardinals," he said.

He said the Pope wants a change of approach and culture: "He likes a very simple [Church] and more closer to the Church of the poor that he's always talking about."

But Mr O'Connell said the Pope's changes are being met with resistance.

"There are many people inside there who are supporting him. There are others who are not."

Listen to Premier's Des Busteed speaking to Gerard O'Connell:

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