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Pope Francis commands Vatican diplomats: Do not criticize the pope

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

VATICAN CITY, June 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Pope Francis delivered a speech to his ambassadors in which he exhorted them not to gossip or criticize him behind his back.

The remarks were part of a four-thousand-word homily in which he told his papal nuncios what kind of man he wishes a nuncio to be: a man of God, of the Church, of apostolic zeal, of reconciliation, of the pope, of initiative, of obedience, of prayer, of active charity, and of humility.

In the section regarding the nuncio being a man of God, Francis condemned gossip and slander.

“The man of God neither deceives nor cheats his neighbor,” he said. “He doesn’t allow himself to gossip and slander; he keeps his mind and heart pure, keeping his eyes and ears away from the filth of the world.”

In the section in which he exhorted his ambassadors to be men “of the pope,” Francis reminded them that “as a papal representative, the nuncio does not represent himself but the Successor of Peter and acts on his behalf between the Church and governments.”

After describing how the nuncio must live out of a suitcase, speak with many people, keep up to date about the place he is sent and keep the pope informed of the situation on the ground, Francis mentioned that criticism of himself is incompatible with the nuncio’s office.

“It is irreconcilable, then, to be the Pontifical Representative and to criticize the Pope behind his back, to have blogs, or even to join groups hostile to him, to the Curia and to the Church of Rome,” he wrote. 

Pope Francis also condemned some nuncios’ abuse of their staff, luxurious living, rigidity, and disobedience:

A nuncio who does not live the virtue of obedience — even when it is difficult and against his own personal vision — is like a traveller who loses his compass, risking failure to reach the goal. We always remember the proverb, ‘Physician, heal thyself.’ It is a counter-witness to call others to obedience and to disobey.

The U.K.’s Catholic Herald reflected that some current papal nuncios have “been caught in scandal,” referencing Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the apostolic nuncio to France accused of two homosexual assaults; Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan,Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan accused of corruption and immorality; and Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, now the apostolic nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, who cautiously criticized on his blog the pontiff’s infamous remark about Catholic parents not needing to breed like rabbits

In 2015, Christopher Lamb of the U.K.’s left-leaning Tablet magazine noted that Gullickson, then the apostolic nuncio to the Ukraine, had also been tweeting articles critical of Pope Francis.

The Catholic Herald also noted that the Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was himself a papal nuncio to the United States. Subsequently, Viganò has accused Pope Francis and other leading churchmen of lying about what they knew of sexual misconduct by the now expelled and laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Francis’s condemnation of gossip, which he has likened to “terrorism,” “murder,” and a “slap“ to Jesus, has been a hallmark of his pontificate. However, the pontiff’s antipathy to detraction has not served him well during the ongoing clerical sexual abuse crisis, most notably when he accused the Catholics of Osorno, Chile, who objected to having a bishop accused of sexual misconduct sent to them of being “dumb.”

RELATED:

The Pope Francis Bumper Book of Insults - Click on each phrase for source and context of phrase. Some of the older links are now outdated since the original article has either been removed or moved to a different location on the net.

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