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In address to Roman Curia, Pope warns against bureaucratic approach, in-house gossip

December 23, 2013

During a traditional pre-Christmas meeting with members of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis thanked the Vatican officials for their work, but also issued blunt warnings against bureaucratic inertia and in-house gossip.

“When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow drift downward toward mediocrity,” the Pope said. He went on:

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 customs house, constantly inspecting and questioning, hindering the working of the Holy Spirit and the growth of God’s people.

The Pope said that members of the Roman Curia should exhibit the virtues of professionalism and a spirit of service. They should also cultivate holiness of life, he added. In that context the Pope said: “Holiness, in the Curia, also means conscientious objection. Yes, conscientious objection to gossip!”

While he was direct in his warnings about these common failings of the Roman Curia, the Pope was careful to praise veteran members of the Curia, “who are cut from the same mold as the curiales of olden times, exemplary people.”

Pope Francis made a special point of thanking the Vatican officials who are approaching retirement. Speaking to the staff generally, he said: “I thank you for the work which you do each day: for the care, diligence, and creativity which you display.” He gave special recognition to Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who has recently assumed his new role as Secretary of State, “an who needs our prayers!”


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