merry in his address. According to Francis, the Curia, like the Church, cannot live 'without having a vital, personal, authentic and solid relationship with Christ. And a member of the Curia who does not draw from that every day will become a mere bureaucrat. He added that we will talk about the list of diseases which, following the Fathers of the desert, will aid us in preparing for confession.
The disease of feeling 'immortal' or 'essential''A
curia that does not practice self-criticism, does not keep up to date,
does not try to better itself, is an infirm Body'. The Pope mentions
that a visit to cemeteries could help us see the names of many who
'maybe thought they were immortal, exempt and essential!'. It is the
disease of those who 'turn into masters and feel superior to everyone
rather than in the service of all people. It often comes from the
pathology of power, the "Messiah complex" and narcissism'.
The disease of excessive activity
is the disease of those who, like Martha in the Gospel, 'lose
themselves in their work, inevitably neglecting "what is better";
sitting at Jesus' feet'. The Pope recalls that Jesus 'called his
disciples to "rest a little", because neglecting necessary rest brings
anxiety and stress'.
The diseases of mental and spiritual 'petrification'
is the disease of those who 'lose their internal peace, their vivacity
and audacity, to hide under papers and become "procedural machines"
instead of men of God', unable to 'weep with those who weep and rejoice
with those who rejoice!'.
The disease of overplanning
the apostle plans everything in detail' and believes that, through
this, 'things progress effectively, thus becoming an accountant. Good
planning is necessary but without falling into the temptation of wanting
to enclose or steer the freedom of the Holy Spirit... it is always
easier and more convenient to fall back on static and unchanged
The disease of bad coordination
It is the
disease of members who 'lose the community among them, and the Body
loses its harmonious functionality' becoming 'an orchestra producing
undisciplined noise because its members do not cooperate and do not live
communally and have team spirit'.
The disease of spiritual Alzheimer's
is a 'progressive decline of spiritual faculties' which 'causes severe
disadvantages to people', making them live in a 'state of absolute
dependence on their, often imagined, views'. We can see this in those
who have 'lost their memory' of their encounter with the Lord, in those
who depend on their 'passions, whims and obsessions'.
The disease of rivalry and vainglory
the appearance, the colour of the vestments and the honours become the
first objectives of life... It is the disease that leads us to become
false men and women, living a false "mysticism" and false "quietism"'.
The disease of existential schizophrenia
is the disease of those who live 'a double life, a result of the
hypocrisy typical of mediocre people and of advancing spiritual
emptiness, which degrees or academic titles cannot fill'. It often
strikes us that some 'abandon the pastoral service and limit their
activities to bureaucracy, losing touch with reality and real people.
They thus create their own parallel world, where they set aside all that
the others harshly teach' and live a 'hidden' and often 'dissolute'
The disease of gossip and chatter'It takes hold
of a person making them "sowers of discord" (like Satan), and, in many
cases, "cold-blooded murderers" of the reputation of their colleagues
and brothers. It is the disease of cowards, who do not have the courage
to speak upfront and so talk behind one's back... Watch out against the
terrorism of gossip!'.
The disease of deifying the leaders
is the disease of those who 'court their superiors', becoming victims
of 'careerism and opportunism' and 'live their vocation thinking only of
what they must gain and not of what they must give'. It might also
affects the superiors 'when they court some of their collaborators in
order to gain their submission, loyalty and psychological dependence,
but the final result is real complicity'.
The disease of indifference to others
each one thinks only of themselves and loses the truthfulness and
warmth of human relationships. When the more experienced ones do not
offer their knowledge to the service of less experienced colleagues.
When, because of jealousy or cunning, we rejoice in seeing others fall,
rather than lift them up and encourage them'.
The disease of the funeral faceIt
is the disease of people who are 'scowling and unfriendly and think
that, in order to be serious, they must show a melancholic and strict
face and treat others - especially those, whom they think are inferior -
with rigidity, harshness and arrogance'. In reality, adds the Pope,
'theatrical strictness and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear
and insecurity about themselves. The apostle must strive to be a polite,
serene, enthusiastic and joyful person...'. Francis invites people to
be full of humour and self-irony; 'How beneficial a healthy dose of
humour can be!'
The disease of hoarding'When the
apostle seeks to fill an existential void in his heart by hoarding
material possessions, not because of necessity, but only to feel
The disease of closed circlesWhen belonging
to a clique becomes more important than belonging to the Body and, in
some situations, than belonging to Christ himself. Even this disease
starts from good intentions, but in time it enslaves all its members
becoming "a cancer"'.
The disease of worldly profit and exhibitionism
the apostle turns his service into power, and his power into a
commodity to gain worldly profits, or even more powers. It is the
disease of those people who relentlessly seek to increase their powers.
To achieve that, they may defame, slander and discredit others, even on
newspapers and magazines. Naturally, that is in order to show off and
exhibit their superiority to others'. A disease that 'badly hurts the
Body because it leads people to justify the use of any means in order to
fulfill their aim, often in the name of transparency and justice!'
Now, the Curia is certainly worthy of some renewal and reorganization but it appears that Francis, like a certain American President, is impatient that the structures do not allow him to do what he wants, when he wants it. It is also clear that Francis is not a team player. One insider to the current papacy suggested that Francis often accepts only reluctantly the advice of others and hardly ever the counsel of the Curia. I am not an insider here and know little to nothing of the inside workings of the Vatican or the Curia. But it does sound to me as if Francis is not a progressive at all. It sounds like he is a radical. That is unsettling news for those in Rome or in communion with Rome. . .