Pope Francis gave warm blessings and messages of goodwill to his key officials and co-workers in administering the Vatican—or the Roman Curia (which is like President Aquino’s Cabinet and body of presidential assistants). But at this years annual meeting with the Curia, the Holy Father also issued what European media have called a blistering attack, warning them of catching “spiritual illnesses” if they continue the way they are and don’t struggle “to grow into becoming Christs.”
The Roman Curia is made up of the dicasteries, councils, offices, commissions and tribunals of the Vatican.
He told them, “It is good to think of the Roman Curia as a small model of the Church, that is, a body that seeks, seriously and on a daily basis, to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious and more united in itself and with Christ.”
“The Curia is always required to better itself and to grow in communion, sanctity and wisdom to fully accomplish its mission. However, like any body, it is exposed to sickness, malfunction and infirmity. … I would like to mention some of these illnesses that we encounter most frequently in our life in the Curia. They are illnesses and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord,” Pope Francis continued.
Inviting the Vatican officials present in this annual meeting to an examination of conscience to prepare themselves for Christmas, the Pope enumerated some “common Curial ailments.”
First of this is “the sickness of considering oneself ‘immortal’, ‘immune’ or ‘indispensable’, neglecting the necessary and habitual controls. A Curia that is not self-critical, that does not stay up-to-date, that does not seek to better itself, is an ailing body,” he said.
Next he cited his officials’ “ ‘Martha-ism’, or excessive industriousness; the sickness of those who immerse themselves in work, inevitably neglecting ‘the better part’ of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Therefore, Jesus required his disciples to rest a little, as neglecting the necessary rest leads to stress and agitation. Rest, once one who has brought his or her mission to a close, is a necessary duty and must be taken seriously: in spending a little time with relatives and respecting the holidays as a time for spiritual and physical replenishment, it is necessary to learn the teaching of Ecclesiastes, that ‘there is a time for everything.’”
He also cited “ “the sickness of mental and spiritual hardening: that of those who, along the way, lose their inner serenity, vivacity and boldness and conceal themselves behind paper, becoming working machines rather than men of God . . . It is dangerous to lose the human sensibility necessary to be able to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! It is the sickness of those who lose those sentiments that were present in Jesus Christ.”
He decried “The ailment of excessive planning and functionalism: this is when the apostle plans everything in detail and believes that, by perfect planning things effectively progress, thus becoming a sort of accountant . . . One falls prey to this sickness because it is easier and more convenient to settle into static and unchanging positions. Indeed, the Church shows herself to be faithful to the Holy Spirit to the extent that she does not seek to regulate or domesticate it. The Spirit is freshness, imagination and innovation.”
He cited in total 15 Curial illnesses.
One wishes the President would also do the same to the members of his Cabinet and his presidential assistants.