In a speech entitled "The Roman Curia and the Body of Christ", Francis lists a "catalogue" of "curial diseases" that "weaken our service to the Lord." You can not live without "a relationship with Christ that is vital, personal, authentic and solid." "The closer we are to God the more we are united among ourselves." An examination of conscience is needed.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Feeling "indispensable", having "a heart of stone", wanting to plan everything, losing one's memory of his encounter with the Lord, vanity, gossip, the desire to accumulate things or riches, membership to closed circles, transforming service into power. These are some of the 15 "diseases" of the curial world that Pope Francis focused on today in his address to the Roman Curia on the occasion of the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings.
A long and hard-hitting speech, almost a document, full of quotations, including that of Paul VI on the "smoke of Satan in the temple of God", about the "disease of closed circles: where membership in the group becomes stronger than that to the Body and, in some situations, to Christ himself. "
First the Pope explained that he had chosen the theme "The Roman Curia and the Body of Christ", thinking the image of the Church as "the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ." In this regard, he recalled that "the Second Vatican Council reminds us that" in the structure of the mystical body of Christ a diversity of members and offices exists. One is the Spirit, who for the use of the Church distributes its various gifts with magnificence that is proportionate to its riches and to the needs of the ministries (1 Cor. 12.1 to 11). "Therefore," Christ and the Church form therefore, the "whole Christ" ["Christus totus"]. The Church is one with Christ. "
"It's nice to think of the Roman Curia as a small model of the Church, that is, as a 'body' that tries seriously and every day to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious and more united in itself and with Christ." For this reason, "being the Curia a dynamic body, it can not live without being nourished and cared for. In fact, the Curia - like the Church - cannot live without having a vital personal, authentic and solid relationship with Christ. A member of the Curia that who does not nourish himself everyday with that food will become a bureaucrat (a formalist, a functionalist, an employer): a branch that withers and slowly dies and is thrown away. Daily prayer, regular participation in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, daily contact with the word of God and spirituality translated into charity, are the daily nourishment that is vital for each of us. What must be clear to all of us is that without Him we can do nothing (John 15, 8). Consequently, the living relationship with God nourishes and strengthens our communion with others, that is, the closer we are to God the more we are united among ourselves because the Spirit of God unites, while the evil spirit divides".
"The Curia is called to better itself, to always improve and grow in communion, in holiness and wisdom to fully realize its mission. Yet, like every body, like every human body it is exposed to disease, malfunction, infirmity. And here I would like to mention some of these probable maladies, curial maladies. They are the most frequent diseases in our curial lives. They are diseases and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord. I think a 'catalogue' of diseaseswill help - in the traidtion of the desert Fathers who drew up this kind of catalogue - the one we are talking about today will help us prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which will be a big step for all of us to prepare for Christmas. "
- The disease of feeling 'immortal', 'immune' or even 'essential' neglecting the necessary and normal controls. A Curia which is not self-critical, that does not update itself, which does not seek to improve is a sick body. An ordinary visit to a cemetery could help us to see the names of so many people, some of whom probably thought they were immortal, immune and indispensable! It is the disease of the rich fool in the Gospel who thought he would live eternally (Luke 12, 13-21 ) and also of those who become masters and feel superior to everyone and not at the service of all. It often stems from the pathology of power, the 'complex of the Chosen one', from the narcissism of looking passionately at one's own image and does not see 'God's image imprinted on the face of others, especially the weak and needy. The antidote to this epidemic is the grace to feel ourselves sinners and say to say with all of our hearts:' We are useless servants. We have done what was to be done' (Luke 17, 10).
- There is another: The disease of 'martialism' (which comes from Martha with a tendency to perfer Martha's portion over Mary's), excessive operosity: that is, those who are so immersed in work, neglecting, inevitably, 'the best part': they sit under the feet of Jesus (Luke 10: 38-42). This is why Jesus called his disciples to 'get some rest' '(Mark 6, 31) because neglecting necessary rest leads to stress and agitation. Rest, for those who have completed their mission, is necessary, proper and should be lived seriously: spending some 'quality time with family and respecting holidays as a time to recharge spiritually and physically; we must learn what Ecclesiastes teaches that 'there is a time for everything' (3, 1-15).
- There is also the disease of mental and spiritual 'petrification': that is, those who have a heart of stone and a' hard neck '(Acts 7: 51-60); of those who, along the way, lose the inner serenity, vivacity and boldness and hide under the cards becoming 'practical machines' and not 'men of God' (Heb 3, 12). It's dangerous to lose the human sensitivity that is necessary to make us weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice! It is the disease of those who lose 'the feelings of Jesus' (Phil 2: 5-11) because their hearts, with the passage of time, has hardened and become unable to unconditionally love the Father and the next (Matthew 22: 34-40). Being a Christian, in fact, means: 'to have the same feelings of Christ Jesus, feelings of humility and selflessness, of detachment and generosity'
- The disease of excessive planning and functionalism: When the Apostle plans everything carefully and believes that perfect planning actually make things progress, becoming a bookkeeper or accountant. Preparing is all right, but you must never fall into the temptation of wanting to shut up and guide the freedom of the Holy Spirit which is always larger, more generous of all human planning (John. 3.8). You fall into this disease because it's always easier and more convenient to rest in one's own static and unchanged positions. In reality, the Church shows itself faithful to the Holy Spirit to the extent that it does not claim to regulate and tame ... Taming the Holy Spirit ... The Holy Spirit is freshness, imagination, novelty '.
- The disease of bad coordination: when members lose their communion with each other and the body loses its smooth functionality and its temperance becoming an orchestra that produces noise because its members do not cooperate and do not live the team spirit of communion.When the foot says to the arm 'I have no need of you', or the hand to the head: 'I'm in charge', causing discomfort and scandal.
- There is also spiritual Alzheimer's disease: that of having forgotten one's history of salvation, of one's personal history with the Lord, one's first love' (Rev 2: 4). It is a progressive decline of the spiritual faculties that in a longer or shorter period of time, cause severe handicap to the person making him unable to carry out any independent activity, as he he lives n a state of absolute dependence of his own views which are often imaginary. We see it in those who have lost the memory of their encounter with the Lord; in those who do not make deuteronomical sense of life; in those who are completely dependent on their 'present', on their passions, quirks and foibles; in those who build walls and habits around themselves becoming more and more, slaves of idols that they have carved with their own hands.
- The disease of rivalry and pomposity: when appearances, the colors of the robes and the insignia of honor become the primary goal of life, forgetting the words of St. Paul: 'Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but each of you, with humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each one should not look to his own interests, but also to that of the other '(Phil 2: 1-4). It is the disease that leads us to be fake men and women and to live a false "mysticism" and a false "quietism." St. Paul calls them 'enemies of the cross of Christ' because 'they boast of what they should be ashamed and think only of the things of the earth' (Phil 3: 19).
- The existential illness of schizophrenia: it's the disease of those who live a double life, the fruit of hypocrisy typical of the poor and the progressive spiritual vacuum that degrees or academic qualifications can not fill. A disease that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service limit themselves to paperwork, thus losing touch with reality, with real people. They create their own parallel world, where they put aside everything that they teach strictly to others, and begin to live a hidden and often dissolute life. Conversion is urgent and indispensable for this very serious disease (Luke 15.11 to 32).
- The disease of gossip, the murmurings and rumors: I have already spoken of this disease many times but never enough: it is a serious disease that starts simply, maybe just for a chat and takes hold of the person making it a 'sower of weeds' (like Satan), and in many cases a 'cold blooded murderer 'of the reputation of colleagues and brothers. It is the disease of cowardly people who do not have the courage to speak directly,so talk behind our backs. St. Paul warns us: 'do everything without murmuring to be blameless and pure' (Phil 2: 14-18). Brethren, beware of the terrorism of gossip!
- The disease of deifing leaders: it is the disease of those who court superiors, hoping to obtain their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honor the people and not God (Mathew 23: 8-12). They are people who offer their service thinking only what they need to get and not what they have to give. Petty, miserable people, inspired only by their fatal selfishness (Gal 5.16 to 25). This disease may also affect the superiors when courting some of their employees to obtain their submission, loyalty and psychological dependence, but the end result is real complicity.
- The disease of indifference towards others: when everyone thinks only of himself and loses the sincerity and warmth of human relations. When the most experienced does not put his knowledge to the service of his less experienced colleagues. When you become aware of something and you keep it to yourself instead of sharing it with others positively. When, out of jealousy or craftiness, you feel joy at seeing others fall rather than helping them get up and encouraging them.
- The funeral face disease: that of people who are gruff and grim, they think that to be serious they need to paint their face with melancholy, severity and treat others - especially those deemed inferior - with stiffness, hardness and arrogance. In reality, theatrical severity and pessimism are often sterile symptoms of fear and insecurity about oneself. The apostle must strive to be a polite, calm, enthusiastic and cheerful person that conveys joy wherever he is. A heart full of God is a happy heart that radiates with joy and infects all who are around him: you can see it right away! Therefore we do not lose that joyful spirit, full of even self-deprecating humor, that makes us pleasant people, even in difficult situations. How healthy is a good dose of humor! We will do very well to often recite the prayer of St. Thomas Moore: I pray every day, it does me good.
- The disease of accumulation when the apostle seeks to fill an existential void in his heart accumulating material goods, not out of necessity, but just to feel safe. In fact, we can take nothing material with us because 'the shroud has no pockets' and all our earthly treasures - even if they are gifts - will never fill that void, indeed they will make it ever more demanding and more profound. To these people the Lord repeats: 'You say I'm rich, I'm rich, I do not need anything. But do you not know you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked ... Be zealous therefore, and be converted ' (Rev 3: 17-19). The accumulation only weighs and slows down the path inexorably. "
- The disease of closed circles: where membership to the group becomes stronger than that to the body and, in some situations, to Christ himself. This disease always begins with good intentions but with the passage of time enslaves its members becoming a 'cancer' that threatens the harmony of the body and cause so much harm - scandals - especially to our brethren. The self-destruction or 'friendly fire' of fellow soldiers is the most subtle danger. It is the evil that strikes from the inside and as Christ says: 'every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined' (Luke 11:17). "
- And the last: the disease of worldly profit, of exhibitionism: when the apostle turns his service into power, and his power into a commodity for profit or more worldly powers. It's the disease of people trying insatiably to multiply powers and for this purpose are capable of slander, defamation and the discrediting of others, even in newspapers and magazines. Obviously to show off and prove they are more capable than others. Although this disease is very bad for the body because it leads people to justify the use of any means to achieve their end, often in the name of justice and transparency. "
"Brothers, these diseases and such temptations are of course a danger to every Christian and to every curia, community, congregation, parish, church movement ... etc. And can strike both individually and the Community. It should be clarified that only the Holy Spirit - the soul of the Mystical Body of Christ, as affirmed by the Nicene Creed of Constantinople: "I believe ... in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and life-giver" - to heal every disease. it is the Holy Spirit that sustains every sincere effort of purification and every goodwill to conversion. He is to make us understand that every member participates in the sanctification of the body and its weakening. He is the promoter of harmony: 'ipse harmonia east', says St. Basil. Augustine says: 'as long as a part adheres to the body, his recovery is not hopeless; what instead was severed, can neither cure nor heal '. "
"Healing is also the result of our awareness of the disease and of the personal and communal decision to heal enduring patiently and persistently cure. Therefore, we are called - in this time of Christmas and all the times of our service and of our existence - to live 'the truth in love, may we grow in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, is joined and connected together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each member, receiving the strength to grow and build ourselves in love' (Eph 4: 15-16). "