These weren’t the tidings of great joy that the Roman Catholic top brass in Rome expected.
In his Christmas address this week, Pope Francis blasted the Curia and their lust for power. Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, the pope talked about his bureaucratic team’s 15 ailments, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” boastfulness, careerism and the “terrorism of gossip.”
It took courage for the pope to call out cardinals and bishops; his speech was met with tepid applause, according to news reports. He risked alienating the people he needs to help push his reform agenda. But Pope Francis obviously felt that blunt words were necessary to draw church leaders to a more spiritual way of life.
So in that sense, it was exactly the right message on the eve of one of Christianity’s most important moments: The birth of Jesus Christ and the humble, loving example he set that still guides people more than 2,000 years later.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica said that the pope’s words were prophetic. “Now and then in our religious history, prophets arise to call us back to our origins, our roots and also our intended mission. That is what Pope Francis is doing. His words apply not only to the Roman Curia at the Vatican but to the entire Church throughout the world. His words are also valid for many institutions in the world today that lose sight of their original mission.”
This is an opportunity for people of all faiths to take stock of their spiritual lives. What ailments would be on your list? What needs to change to help you live your life to its best, highest level?