Pope Francis’ meeting today with officials of the Roman Curia was important for what was said and what wasn’t said. The annual Christmas encounter between the pope and his bureaucratic support system is often a time for “big” speeches that outline papal agendas, and what better occasion for Pope Francis to explain his big project of Curia reform? That didn’t happen. Instead, in a short speech, the pope made three points that, while offering some praise for the performance of the Roman Curia, also seemed to challenge the reigning attitudes there. First, the pope spoke of the need for professional skill and competence. “When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow slide toward the area of
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