Pope Francis Describes 15 Ailments, Sicknesses, and Diseases in the Vatican Curia

Pope Francis Describes 15 Ailments, Sicknesses, and Diseases in the Vatican Curia

In his Christmas address to the Vatican Curia, Pope Francis described various ailments, sicknesses, and diseases “that we encounter most frequently in our life in the Curia.” Francis said, “They are illnesses and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord.” While intended for the Curia, Pope Francis is highlighting some problematic behavior that can easily apply to the average Christian, as well, making his remarks relevant for not just those in the Curia. Here are the 15 ailments described by Pope Francis:

  1. Considering oneself ‘immortal’, ‘immune’ or ‘indispensable,’ neglecting the necessary and habitual controls. A Curia that is not self-critical, that does not stay up-to-date, that does not seek to better itself, is an ailing body.
  2. ‘Martha-ism’, or excessive industriousness, the sickness of those who immerse themselves in work, inevitably neglecting ‘the better part’ of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Therefore, Jesus required his disciples to rest a little, as neglecting the necessary rest leads to stress and agitation.
  3. Mental and spiritual hardening: that of those who, along the way, lose their inner serenity, vivacity and boldness and conceal themselves behind paper, becoming working machines rather than men of God.
  4. Excessive planning and functionalism: this is when the apostle plans everything in detail and believes that, by perfect planning things effectively progress, thus becoming a sort of accountant.
  5. Poor coordination develops when the communion between members is lost, and the body loses its harmonious functionality and its temperance, becoming an orchestra of cacophony because the members do not collaborate and do not work with a spirit of communion or as a team.
  6. Spiritual Alzheimer’s disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the ‘first love.’
  7. Rivalry and vainglory: when appearances, the color of one’s robes, insignia and honors become the most important aim in life.
  8. Existential schizophrenia: the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of the hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and the progressive spiritual emptiness that cannot be filled by degrees or academic honors.
  9. Chatter, grumbling and gossip: this is a serious illness that begins simply, often just in the form of having a chat, and takes people over, turning them into sowers of discord, like Satan, and in many cases cold-blooded murderers of the reputations of their colleagues and brethren.
  10. Deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, honoring people rather than God.
  11. Indifference towards others arises when each person thinks only of himself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships.
  12. The funereal face: or rather, that of the gruff and the grim, those who believe that in order to be serious it is necessary to paint their faces with melancholy and severity, and to treat others – especially those they consider inferior – with rigidity, hardness and arrogance.
  13. Accumulation: when the apostle seeks to fill an existential emptiness of the heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity but simply to feel secure.
  14. Closed circles: when belonging to a group becomes stronger than belonging to the Body and, in some situations, to Christ Himself.
  15. Worldly profit and exhibitionism: when the apostle transforms his service into power, and his power into goods to obtain worldly profits or more power.

The Pope And The President: Common Ground But A Clear Divide

March 27, 2014 7:01 PM
Despite some differences, President Obama and Pope Francis shared a laugh during their Thursday meeting at the Vatican. Obama called himself a "great admirer" of the pope.

Despite some differences, President Obama and Pope Francis shared a laugh during their Thursday meeting at the Vatican. Obama called himself a “great admirer” of the pope.

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama’s Vatican meeting with Pope Francis wasn’t without a dose of irony.

The U.S. president, once the world leader whose vow of “hope” and “change” excited millions, seemed eclipsed Thursday in that department by the pope.

The pope certainly is polling better than Obama among Americans. A recent placed the pope’s approval rating at 85 percent among Catholics and 65 percent among all Americans. By contrast, Obama’s approval rating was 47 percent in the same poll.

Another irony: While the pope’s approval ratings are higher than Obama’s, Americans, including many Catholics, agree more with Obama on certain social issues than with the pope.

For instance, on reproductive rights, more Americans are closer to Obama’s stance than to the pope’s. of Americans say they would not like to see the court completely overturn Roe v. Wade, according to Pew Research polling. More than a third of U.S. Catholics, 36 percent, say abortion should be legal in most cases, according to an October 2013 ; an additional 16 percent say abortion should be legal in all cases.

When it comes to same-sex marriage, Quinnipiac reports 60 percent of U.S. Catholics support it — a higher level than the general population.

To some extent, the pope benefits from his relative newness, and from the appearance of being a fresh break from his recent predecessors. His eschewing of papal lavishness and call for the Roman Catholic Church to focus more on social justice have excited millions around the world.

By contrast, the realities of being a U.S. president in the 21st century, of being ultimately responsible for drone attacks and controversial NSA surveillance practices, have left even many of Obama’s strongest supporters disappointed that the president hasn’t changed the world as much as they had hoped.

As Michael Anthony Novak, a theology professor at St. Leo, told It’s All Politics, it’s more the rule than the exception that a president and pope wouldn’t have much ideological overlap.

“Popes and presidents don’t perfectly line up,” Novak told me. “Whenever they get together, it’s a fairly rare thing that their interests would perfectly align.”

The kind of alignment between President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II at their first meeting, when they seemed to be of one mind on directly confronting communism, is rare, Novak said.

The U.S. president heads a superpower with vast economic and military might. The pope, meanwhile, heads the world’s smallest country, Vatican City, but as leader of his church he has great moral power even beyond its adherents.

“Obama sounded out the Vatican last year about the idea of intervention in Syria,” because the pope’s support and moral authority might help the president make his case for action, Novak said.

“Did the Vatican think this fit the concept of just-war theory and so forth? And in that case, Francis seemed to be strongly against the idea of the West intervening in a strong military way,” he said.

It was another area in which the president and the pope differed.

One area where the onetime Chicago community organizer and the former Buenos Aires parish priest align, however, is in the need to address economic inequality.

But while they both recognize the problem, the pope is certainly of the president in his critique of capitalism. Still, their concern for social justice represents an opportunity for the two men to work together.

Novak notes that Obama met with the pope for a longer time than the Vatican usually allots for such meetings, even with other heads of state: “I don’t know what it says yet but it says something.”

Still, he says, the Vatican knows Obama is closer to the end of his presidency than its start.

Read more

Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economics

Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economics

Pope Francis delivers  a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world’s cardinals. (Osservatore Romano/EPA)Pope Francis delivers a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world’s cardinals. (Osservatore Romano/EPA)

Pope Francis has released a sharply worded take on capitalism and the world’s treatment of its poor, criticizing “trickle-down” economic policies in no uncertain terms.

In the first lengthy writing of his papacy — also known as an “apostolic exhortation” — Francis says such economic theories naively rely on the goodness of those in charge and create a “tyranny” of the markets.

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” the pope wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.” Read more

Ending Million-Dollar Pay Packages, Papal-Style

Ending Million-Dollar Pay Packages, Papal-Style

Let the Pope’s suspension of a bishop for spending millions on lavish renovations be a lesson to America’s CEOs.

BY Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers President

Corporate boards should behave more like Pope Francis, banishing imperial CEOs and rejecting royal pay package demands. If they did, they wouldn’t have to fear embarrassment when those pay ratio numbers get released.

Pope Francis has the antidote for what ails the United States. He gave the Catholic Church’s 1.2 billion followers a dose last week when he suspended the Bishop of Bling.

The German bishop, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, bought himself a $20,000 bathtub while spending $42 million renovating his residence. It’s an echo of John Thain, the Merrill Lynch chief executive who bought a $35,000 toilet while spending $1.2 million on office renovations just months before confessing to $56 billion in losses. Read more

Greed destroys, money is God’s gift to use to help others, pope says

Greed destroys, money is God’s gift to use to help others, pope says

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

POPE-MONEY Oct-21-2013 (350 words) xxxi

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Money by itself isn’t a problem, but greed and an attachment to money cause evil and destroy families and relationships, Pope Francis said.

“Money is needed to bring about many good things,” he said in his morning Mass homily Oct. 21, “but when your heart is attached (to money), it destroys you.”

“How many destroyed families have we seen because of money problems, sibling against sibling, father against child,” he said during the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, according to Vatican Radio. Read more

De-coding Francis: Vatican media adviser offers “10 things to know”

De-coding Francis: Vatican media adviser offers “10 things to know”

Posted on October 22, 2013 by Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY — If people are still unsure about what to make of Pope Francis, the Vatican’s media adviser offered his take on decoding the pontiff.


Greg Burke, media adviser to the Vatican, participating in a Vatican press conference Dec. 3, 2012. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope greets people in wheelchairs after celebrating Mass in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

“Pope Francis is not a politically-correct pope,” rather, he is “a loyal son of the church” who presents the hard truths with a heavy dose of mercy, said Greg Burke, senior communications adviser to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

The former U.S. journalist, who’s been based in Rome the past 25 years, gave a behind-the-scenes talk last week to hundreds of benefactors celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

U.S. Msgr. Peter Wells — another top official at the Secretariat of State — also spoke at the same Oct. 18 event in the apostolic palace, where he gave his take on the reform of the curia and how they counteract secular media manipulating the pope’s message. Read more

Pope’s letter to non-believers in Italian paper La Repubblica

Pope’s letter to non-believers in Italian paper La Repubblica

(Vatican Radio) Does God forgive non-believers? Does absolute truth exist? And is God merely a creation of the human mind?
In a lengthy letter to the former editor of the Italian daily ‘La Repubblica’, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis shares reflections on these three questions and urges all non-believers to engage with Christians in an open and sincere conversation.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:

In the letter published on Wednesday, the Pope laments the impasse that has grown up over the centuries with those who see Christianity as ‘dark and superstitious,’ in opposition to the ‘light of reason’. Read more

Take Action, But Not Military Action, in Syria Advocate, Pray, and Fast for Peace

Take Action, But Not Military Action, in Syria
Advocate, Pray, and Fast for Peace

With Pope Francis, the Bishops, other faith leaders, and the world community, we at NETWORK deplore ongoing violence in Syria, including the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people. We are gravely concerned with the suffering of millions of refugees and displaced people. We have issued a statement calling on political leaders to:

-Intensify U.S. diplomatic engagement with other nations in calling for a ceasefire and peace negotiations

-Ensure immediate, unrestricted access by humanitarian organizations to the people of Syria

-Provide humanitarian aid to all those affected by the ongoing violence in Syria and among Syrian refugee communities

NETWORK strongly encourages you to call your Representative, who may be one of many undecided on military action in Syria, and convey the above messages. The number for the Capitol Switchboard is: (202) 224-3121. If you do not know who your representative is, click here.

Coming to a position about how NETWORK should advise decision-makers to proceed was difficult. As we call our political leaders to peaceful action, we also encourage you to mobilize the power of prayer and spiritual community. NETWORK joins Catholic Sisters, including and especially the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Lebanon and Syria, and all who suffer violence and insecurity, in prayer. Join us and respond to the call of Pope Francis:  “We want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.”

NETWORK invites you to accept Pope Francis’ invitation to all faithful, peace-seeking people to participate in a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow (Saturday), “invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world.” See the full text of the Pope’s appeal for peace here.  For more information on Saturday’s day of fasting and prayer visit Find the Vatican liturgy and livestream here. To connect on social media, use the hashtags #Fast4Syria and #PrayforPeace, and share reflections with others on NETWORK’s Facebook page

Invoking God’s great gift of peace, 

Claire Markham

Field Associate


P.S. You can also read statements on the ongoing conflict in Syria from these other Catholic communities: Maryknoll Office of Global ConcernsPax Christi InternationalSisters of Mercy, and Franciscan Action Network.


In first encyclical, pope celebrates faith as the light of human life

In first encyclical, pope celebrates faith as the light of human life

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead a general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 26. His first encyclical, “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”), was released July 5. (CNS/Paul Haring)5

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ first encyclical, “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”), is a celebration of Christian faith as the guiding light of a “successful and fruitful life,” inspiring social action as well as devotion to God, and illuminating “every aspect of human existence,” including philosophy and the natural sciences.

The document, released July 5, completes a papal trilogy on the three “theological virtues,” following Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals “Deus Caritas Est” (2005) on charity and “Spe Salvi” (2007) on hope. Publication of the encyclical was one of the most awaited events of the Year of Faith which began in October 2012. Read more

Release of Pope Francis’ first encyclical stresses beauty of faith

Release of Pope Francis’ first encyclical stresses beauty of faith

By Estefania Aguirre

Pope Francis rides through St Peters Square after Mass on April 28, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2013 / 07:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The first encyclical of Pope Francis – which had been started by the former Pope, Benedict XVI – has been released today to help strengthen the faith of Catholics worldwide.

“We welcome with great joy and gratitude this integral profession of faith, in the form of catechesis written by four hands of the successors of Peter,” said Cardinal Marc Ouellet at the Vatican’s press office on July 5. Read more