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December 6, 2022

Pope lashes ‘gossiping mediocrity’ of church bureaucrats’

Pope Francis has given a tongue-lashing to the Roman Catholic Church’s scandal tainted bureaucracy, denouncing its culture of “gossip” and downwards drift “towards mediocrity”, theaustralian.com informs.
In robust style, the Argentine pontiff used his first meeting with the Curia to blend Christmas wishes with scathing criticisms of its failings after scandals over leaks of papal files, corruption, paedophilia and cronyism.
Many of Francis’s audience in the frescoed 16th-century Clementine Hall sat stony-faced as he urged them to resist gossip with “conscientious objection”.
Francis, 77, also denounced “a slow drift towards mediocrity”, warning that the Curia risked turning “into a ponderous, bureaucratic customs house, constantly inspecting and questioning, hindering the working of the Holy Spirit and the growth of God’s people”.
In a separate video message, the Pope paid tribute to poor people who live off the rubbish discarded by the rest of society. Francis described them as dignified and castigated the more affluent for throwing away enough every day to feed all the world’s hungry.
The Pope’s eagerness for reform and to create “a poor church for the poor”, flagged on his election in March, has prompted speculation about how he will depart from tradition during this week’s Christmas festivities.
Midnight mass on Christmas Eve in St Peter’s and his “urbi et orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message on Christmas Day are attended by tens of thousands and watched by millions on television.
Monsignor Dario Vigano, head of the Vatican television service, said he expects Francis to invite outsiders to share his Christmas Day lunch – just as he asked four tramps to celebrate mass on his birthday on December 17.
“Over Christmas, the Pope will stress the fact that the news of the birth of Jesus Christ was given to shepherds who at the time were considered pariahs,” Vigano said. “You can’t follow God if you ignore the poor.”
Elisabetta Pique, an Argentine journalist and biographer of the Pope, said that as archbishop of Buenos Aires he was “a free spirit” who spent Christmas visiting the poor, hospitals and jails. “Once on Christmas Eve he was visiting a prison when he was told he must leave or spend the night. He chose to stay there all night,” she said.
Francis’s remarks followed the appointment last week of the management consultancy McKinsey and the accountancy giant KPMG to advise him on reforming the Vatican’s communications and accounting.
In the meantime, his shake-up of personnel continues. He removed the arch-conservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke from the body that chooses bishops and will soon name his first batch of cardinals.

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