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Pope identifies 15 spiritual ‘sicknesses’ of the Curia

December 22, 2014

In his annual year-end address to the Roman Curia, Pope Francis reflected on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ and said that the Curia is a microcosm of that Body.

Without daily prayer, regular participation in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, daily contact with God’s Word, and a “spirituality translated into charity,” a member of the Curia dies spiritually and becomes a bureaucrat, the Pope said in his December 22 address.

To “help us prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation” before Christmas, the Pope then listed 15 spiritual “sicknesses” that are “more usual” in “our life” as members of the Curia.

The 15 include not being self-critical and thinking oneself indispensable, “Martha-ism” (excessive Martha-like busyness), hardheartedness, excessive planning, failing to work with others, “spiritual Alzheimer’s” (forgetting one’s spiritual journey), and rivalry and vainglory.

Other spiritual sicknesses, the Pope added, include existential “schizophrenia” (living a double life that is “often dissolute”), gossip, careerism and flattering superiors, indifference to others, a severe “funeral face” (rather than self-deprecating good humor), the “disease of closed circles,” and “worldly profit, exhibitionism” (through “calumniating, defaming, and discrediting others,” even in the media “in the name of justice and transparency”).

These temptations, he continued, are a danger to every Christian and every community. “The Holy Spirit sustains every sincere effort of purification and every good will of conversion.”


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  • Posted by: loshuwugui4538 - Dec. 23, 2014 2:25 PM ET USA

    Here is Catholic news that I have been waiting to hear all of the 68+ years of my life as a Catholic. "Roma locuta est, causa finite est." The Holy Father, Pope Francis I, S.J. has spoken flawlessly from "The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius." He has said specifically what has needed to be said since St. Peter himself sat in THE CHAIR. Cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, and religious, you need to take heed lest you fall into everlasting fire. Viva Papa, S.J.!! AMDG - JHM

  • Posted by: dowd9585 - Dec. 23, 2014 4:38 AM ET USA

    Good for Pope Francis! Sounds to me like he would like his Vatican helpers to be orthodox Catholics and practice what they preach. This is most refreshing and gives me hope. And it would seem that he may not be as opposed to traditional and conservative Catholics as we have supposed by his previous statements. Pope Francis is a real mystery even perhaps to himself and should be always in our prayers.

  • Posted by: shrink - Dec. 22, 2014 4:16 PM ET USA

    With so much spiritual illness one wonders how much any of those so afflicted have the ears to hear and courage to change. With so much illness, does Francis know if anyone therein is capable of listening.

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 22, 2014 1:57 PM ET USA

    "Without daily prayer, regular participation in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, daily contact with God’s Word, and a spirituality translated into charity, a member of the Curia dies spiritually and becomes a bureaucrat" Pope Francis hit the Bull's-Eye with that observation! And it applies to every Bishop, every Pastor and to every single office in the Church. Lack of prayer and charity is the source of the gravest problems within the Church. May God bless Pope Francis!