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Pope’s Christmas gift to Roman Curia: a harsh diagnosis of careerism, self-interest

Pope Francis did not play Santa Claus today when he addressed the officials of the Roman Curia in their annual pre-Christmas get-together. Instead, he issued a blistering critique of “curial illnesses,” ranging from the “terrorism of gossip” to the search for worldly profit. It was another sign that this pope is trying to change the culture inside the Vatican, and not simply reform its bureaucratic structures. Here is the pope’s list of what he described as 15 of the most common illnesses and temptations that are found in the Roman Curia: 1. Feeling oneself as “immortal,” “immune” or even “indispensable,” a sense of superiority that results from a “pathology of power” and narcissism. To put

Report on U.S. nuns emphasizes 'gratitude,' reflects changes at Vatican

Today’s Vatican report on the investigation of U.S. women’s religious orders was largely positive in tone, in contrast to statements issued when the investigation began in 2009. At that time, Cardinal Franc Rodé, who headed the Vatican congregation for religious orders, said the study was aimed at identifying “secular” and “feminist” attitudes that had infiltrated the nuns’ orders and helped cause a drastic decline in membership. Today’s report didn’t go there. Instead, it delineated real challenges facing religious orders while thanking the sisters repeatedly for their service to the Gospel. This balanced approach reflects a changing of the guard at the Vatican — but it’s a change that bega

Vatican asks for pre-synod consultations that avoid strictly 'doctrinal' approach

It looks like Synod 2015 may be as interesting as Synod 2014. A Vatican preparatory document for next year’s second session of the Synod of Bishops on the family is seeking wide input from the faithful, posing 46 questions and asking that bishops conferences do not answer them with strictly “doctrinal” formulations. The document, released Dec. 9 at the Vatican, said the pre-synod consultation should involve every level of the church, including academic institutions, lay movements and other associations. UPDATE: English version now available here. It said that in preparing for the second synodal session, bishops should remember that Pope Francis has called for a pastoral approach that reflect

Pope Francis on Cardinal Burke, the synod, Curia reform and more

Pope Francis has a new interview out, addressing controversies over the recent Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Raymond Burke and plans to reform the Roman Curia. On Cardinal Burke, the pope said his recent departure from a Vatican tribunal should not be seen as punishment for the cardinal’s outspoken remarks during the October synod. The pope said he needed a “smart American” to serve as patron of the Knights of Malta, and that Burke thanked him for the reassignment. One of the most interesting passages in the interview came when the pope defended efforts to relax restrictions on divorced and remarried Catholics – a contested issue at the recent synod. The pope said the question goes beyond recep

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