Pope Knocks Vatican's 'Spiritual Alzheimer's'
Pontiff describes 15 'ailments' in Christmas speech
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 22, 2014 10:07 AM CST
Pope Francis meets with cardinals and bishops of the Vatican Curia during a Christmas speech in Clementine Hall at the Vatican, Dec. 22, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andreas Solaro, Pool)
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(Newser) – Speaking to cardinals, bishops, and priests during his yearly Christmas speech, Pope Francis offered up a harsh critique of Vatican practices. Francis described 15 "ailments" within the church administration known as the Curia—ailments he's seeking to remedy next year, the BBC reports. Among his concerns are "this disease of feeling immortal or indispensable," he said. A "pathology of power" may prompt some to think "they are superior to others and not here for the service to others," he noted, as CNN reports. Francis also described the "terrorism of gossip"; some within the body have been "cold-bloodedly killing the reputation of their own colleagues and brothers," he said. Pointing to "spiritual Alzheimer's," he discussed the danger of "forgetting the story of salvation," people losing "memory of their encounter with God," and "those who look obsessively at their own image."

Francis seemed also to describe the church's child abuse crisis, which he called a "disease of a closeness" that "begins from good intentions, but with the passing of time enslaves its members, becoming a cancer which threatens the harmony of the body and causes a lot of evil and scandal, especially towards our small brothers and sisters." Among his other concerns, as the AP reports:

  • Working too much: "Rest for those who have done their work is necessary, good, and should be taken seriously."
  • Kissing up to one's bosses: "It's the sickness of those who court their superiors, hoping for their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honor people who aren't God."
  • Being too much of a downer: "Theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic, and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes."
Click for all 15 "ailments."