ROME, December 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis delivered his Christmas message to the Curia today, blasting Vatican officials who had been fired from key positions for having, he said, betrayed the trust that had been put in them.
“I am speaking of persons carefully selected to give a greater vigour to the body and to the reform, but – failing to understand the lofty nature of their responsibility – let themselves be corrupted by ambition or vainglory. Then, when they are quietly sidelined, they wrongly declare themselves martyrs of the system, of a 'Pope kept in the dark,' of the 'old guard'…, rather than reciting a mea culpa,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis did not name those whom he thought had been corrupted in the Roman Curia, the administrative body that regulates the functions of the Vatican and the wider Catholic Church.
There have been a number of alarming high-profile dismissals from the Vatican since Pope Francis was elected in 2013. Among these include Cardinal Raymond Burke from his position of prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura – the highest court of the Catholic Church; Cardinal Gerhard Müller as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith; three priests working for the CDF; the auditor general of the Vatican Bank, Libero Milone; and the deputy director of the Vatican bank, Giulio Mattietti.
The Pope said during his address that there are still others in the Curia who are not on the “right track.”
“Alongside these [sidelined people], there are others who are still working there, to whom all the time in the world is given to get back on the right track, in the hope that they find in the Church’s patience an opportunity for conversion and not for personal advantage,” he said.
He urged the Curia to rise above what he called a “mindset of plots.”
“This is very important for rising above that unbalanced and debased mindset of plots and small cliques that in fact represent – for all their self-justification and good intentions – a cancer leading to a self-centeredness that also seeps into ecclesiastical bodies, and in particular those working in them,” he said.
The Holy Father assured his audience that these careerists were a minority among them. He said his remarks were “in no way to overlook the vast majority of faithful persons working there with praiseworthy commitment, fidelity, competence, dedication and great sanctity.”
In his seasonal address, Pope Francis reminded the Curia, the civil service of the Vatican, employing both clerics and lay people, that they perform a “diaconal” or “servant” function.
The pontiff recalled that in speaking to the Fathers and Heads of the Oriental Catholic Churches, he had described the papacy as “diaconal primacy,” an expression that reminded him of “Servus servorum Dei” (Servant of the servants of God).”
“A similar diaconal attitude should characterize all those who in various ways work in the context of the Roman Curia,” Francis said.
Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has used his annual Christmas address to the Curia as an opportunity to lay out his vision while criticizing unnamed opponents. In 2014 he listed 15 “ailments” that plague the Vatican bureaucracy. In 2015, he spoke of the “sicknesses” that had befallen the Roman Curia. In 2016 he spoke of “malicious resistance” to his reforms.