Be professional, shun Gossip, Pope tells Vatican administrators

Pope Francis blesses youths of the "Azione Cattolica" organization during a private audience at the Vatican. Credit: Reuters
Pope Francis blesses youths of the “Azione Cattolica” organization during a private audience at the Vatican.
Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis on Saturday told Vatican administrators, who were dogged by infighting and allegations of corruption during the papacy of his predecessor, to be humble professionals and “conscientious objectors” to gossip.

“When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow drift downwards towards mediocrity,” Francis said in his first Christmas greetings to the members of the Roman Catholic Church’s central administration, known as the Curia.

He told the cardinals, bishops, monsignors and lay people who work in the various Vatican departments that administer the 1.2 billion-member Church that they should always strive for “professionalism and service”.

When he was elected in March, Francis inherited a Curia in disarray and still reeling from the “Vatileaks” scandal, in which documents stolen from former Pope Benedict’s office alleged corruption and petty infighting among monsignors.

Benedict, who became the first pope in 600 years to resign, was also tainted by reports in the Italian media of a so-called “gay lobby” in the Curia that used blackmail against others.

Prelates in the Curia were also known to use Italian journalists to spread rumors or anonymously attack members of different factions in the bureaucracy.

Francis was elected with a mandate to reform the Catholic Church’s central structure, and named an international commission of eight cardinals to advise him on what changes to make.

In his address, he said he wanted the Curia to turn a page.

“Holiness, in the Curia, also means conscientious objection to gossip,” he said, and, departing from his prepared speech, added that there were also “saints” working in the Vatican.

OVERHAUL

In October, the eight cardinals advising the pope said they believed the Holy See’s central government needed a total overhaul to fix it.

They have advised the pope that the Vatican needs a new constitution to govern the workings of its various departments, to replace the existing one written in 1998.

Bishops around the world have criticized the Curia for being heavy-handed, autocratic, condescending and overly bureaucratic, and some accused it of reflecting the trappings and intrigue of a Renaissance court.

Francis has said previously that one main problem of the Curia was that it was too focused on its own interests.

Francis has sought to bring openness, consultation and humility to the Vatican. He has shunned the spacious papal apartment and lives in small quarters in a guest house.

His decision to take advice from the cardinals – from Italy, Chile, India, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, Australia and Honduras – is a sign that he intends to take seriously calls from within the Church to decentralize a traditionally top-heavy institution.

Before resigning, Benedict left a secret report for Francis on the problems of the Curia, which were exposed when sensitive documents alleging corruption were stolen from his desk by his butler and leaked to the media.

There have been suggestions that some Vatican departments should be merged and others closed in order to make the Curia more efficient and to prevent corruption.

This week the Vatican said it had engaged an international consulting firm to make sure all the Vatican’s departments, including those accused in the “Vatileaks” scandal, met international standards of financial accounting.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.