Before Christmas last year, Pope Francis delivered a message to the leaders of the Roman Curia. The message brings to mind qualities in public officials that this nation, preparing for the 2016 national elections, is praying for.
The following is an excerpt from the Pope’s address
I read once that priests are like planes: they only make news when they crash, even though so many of them are in the air. Many people criticize, and few pray for them. It is a very touching, but also very true saying, because it points to the importance and the frailty of our priestly service, and how much evil a single priest who “crashes” can do to the whole body of the Church.
The Curia… like any body, like any human body, it is also exposed to diseases, malfunctioning, infirmity. Here I would like to mention some of these probable diseases, “curial diseases”.
- The disease of poor coordination. Once its members lose communion among themselves, the body loses its harmonious functioning and its equilibrium; it then becomes an orchestra which produces noise: its members do not work together and lose the spirit of fellowship and teamwork. When the foot says to the arm: “I don’t need you ”, or the hand says to the head, “I’m in charge”, they create discomfort and scandal.
- The disease of rivalry and vainglory. When appearances, the colour of our clothes and our titles of honour become the primary object in life, we forget the words of Saint Paul: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4). This is a disease which leads us to be men and woman of deceit, and to live a false “mysticism” and a false “quietism”. Saint Paul himself defines such persons as “enemies of the cross of Christ” because “they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Phil 3:19).
- The disease of indifference to others. This is where each individual thinks only of himself and loses sincerity and warmth of human relationships. When the most knowledgeable person does not put that knowledge at the service of his less knowledgeable colleagues. When we learn something and then keep it to ourselves rather than sharing it in a helpful way with others. When out of jealousy or deceit we take joy in seeing others fall instead of helping them up and encouraging them.
Read the complete address here.