Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Greetings from the Holy Father!

This day you shall know that the Lord is coming.
and in the morning you shall see his glory.
Matins for December 24, Invitatory Antiphon

Ave Maria!  Dear Friends, by now we've all most likely heard about the Holy Father's Christmas greetings on December 22, 2014 to the cardinals, bishops and priests of the Roman Curia.  The short version of the Holy Father's talk, in which he listed 15 "ailments of the Curia," appears below.  Every point was explained, with citations, in the address of over 3100 words, which took about 32 minutes.  The Vatican has not yet published this talk in English, but a more detailed version of these ailments is available here.
This talk is a collective examination of conscience, and while it was directed to the members of the Curia, it applies to every single one of us if we are sincerely striving to love our Lord and become more like Him for the Father's praise and glory.  In fact, when Pope Francis spoke to the workers at the Vatican the following day, he told them to read this list and then go to Confession!  I greatly appreciate the Holy Father's honesty, which I find so refreshing and most helpful.  I certainly intend to keep this list handy for my frequent use.  God bless Pope Francis! 


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis listed 15 “ailments” of the Vatican Curia during his annual Christmas greetings to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the central administration of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church. Here’s the list.

            1)         Feeling immortal, immune or indispensable. “A Curia that doesn’t criticize itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.”

            2)         Working too hard. “Rest for those who have done their work is necessary, good and should be taken seriously.”

            3)         Becoming spiritually and mentally hardened. “It’s dangerous to lose that human sensibility that lets you cry with those who are crying, and celebrate those who are joyful.”

            4)         Planning too much. “Preparing things well is necessary, but don’t fall into the temptation of trying to close or direct the freedom of the Holy Spirit, which is bigger and more generous than any human plan.”

            5)         Working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise. “When the foot tells the hand, ‘I don’t need you’ or the hand tells the head ‘I’m in charge.’”

            6)         Having ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s.’ ”We see it in the people who have forgotten their encounter with the Lord ... in those who depend completely on their here and now, on their passions, whims and manias, in those who build walls around themselves and become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands.”

            7)         Being rivals or boastful. “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life.”

            8)         Suffering from ‘existential schizophrenia.’ ”It’s the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy that is typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that academic degrees cannot fill. It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people.”

            9)         Committing the ‘terrorism of gossip.’ ”It’s the sickness of cowardly people who, not having the courage to speak directly, talk behind people’s backs.”

            10)       Glorifying one’s bosses. “It’s the sickness of those who court their superiors, hoping for their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honor people who aren’t God.”

            11)       Being indifferent to others. “When, out of jealousy or cunning, one finds joy in seeing another fall rather than helping him up and encouraging him.”

            12)       Having a ‘funereal face.’ ”In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes.”

            13)       Wanting more. “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure.”

            14)       Forming ‘closed circles’ that seek to be stronger than the whole. “This sickness always starts with good intentions but as time goes by, it enslaves its members by becoming a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body and causes so much bad — scandals — especially to our younger brothers.”

            15)       Seeking worldly profit and showing off. “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.”

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