If a good man reproves me, it is kindness. - Ps. 141:5
Avoiding sentimentality at Christmas ...
This morning in the Clementine Hall the Holy Father held his annual meeting with the Roman Curia to exchange Christmas greetings with the members of its component dicasteries, councils, offices, tribunals and commissions. “It is good to think of the Roman Curia as a small model of the Church, that is, a body that seeks, seriously and on a daily basis, to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious and more united in itself and with Christ”.
“The Curia is always required to better itself and to grow in communion, sanctity and wisdom to fully accomplish its mission. However, like any body, it is exposed to sickness, malfunction and infirmity. … I would like to mention some of these illnesses that we encounter most frequently in our life in the Curia. They are illnesses and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord”, continued the Pontiff, who after inviting all those present to an examination of conscience to prepare themselves for Christmas, listed the most common Curial ailments. - Vatican Information Service
The Holy Father warns against the 'terrorism of gossip' ...
La Stampa’s Vatican Insider has the full list of 15 diseases Francis named. They’re also available, in Italian, on the Vatican’s press office site. Some of the highlights – or lowlights – depending on whether you are a member of the Curia or not:
On feeling “immortal:” “A curia that does not practice self-criticism, does not keep up to date, does not try to better itself, is an infirm Body’.”
On what he means by “spiritual Alzheimers:” “A progressive decline of spiritual faculties’ which ’causes severe disadvantages to people’, making them live in a ‘state of absolute dependence on their, often imagined, views’. We can see this in those who have ‘lost their memory’ of their encounter with the Lord, in those who depend on their ‘passions, whims and obsessions’.”
On the disease of “existential schizophrenia:” this refers to “a double life, a result of the hypocrisy typical of mediocre people and of advancing spiritual emptiness, which degrees or academic titles cannot fill’.” Ouch.
Some of his harshest words were reserved to sins related to gossiping, which, as shown above, the pope likened to the actions of Satan. Gossip, he said, will grip a person and transform him into one of the “sowers of discord.” which is a pretty direct reference to what Satan does. Francis called gossips “cold-blooded murderers” of reputations. “It is the disease of cowards, who do not have the courage to speak upfront and so talk behind one’s back… Watch out against the terrorism of gossip!” he said. - Washington PostAn examen.
There are so many helpful points for our own personal examination of conscience in what the Holy Father notes. He is like a good spiritual father, and kindly spiritual director pointing out the pitfalls of the spiritual life. I especially like these:
“The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, honouring people rather than God. They are people who experience service thinking only of what they might obtain and not of what they should give. They are mean, unhappy and inspired only by their fatal selfishness”.
“The disease of indifference towards others arises when each person thinks only of himself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships. When the most expert does not put his knowledge to the service of less expert colleagues; when out of jealousy … one experiences joy in seeing another person (fall) instead of lifting him up or encouraging him”. - VIS
At the very end, the Holy Father asks everyone to pray for priests.
The Christmas season is very difficult for priests - many penance services and confession, some priests have no assistants and offer all the Masses scheduled alone, and there is always a demand for their time. Imagine a busy priest falling asleep in prayer. Or a priest too busy to follow what the Pope really says and gets his information from crack pots bloggers like us - imagine how discouraging that can be?
“I once read that priests are like aeroplanes: they only make the news when they crash, but there are many that fly. Many criticise them and few pray for them”, he concluded. “It is a very nice phrase, but also very true, as it expresses the importance and the delicacy of our priestly service, and how much harm just one priest who falls may cause to the whole body of the Church”. - Pope Francis
Pray for priests.
At the end of the address some news reports said
the applause was 'tepid'. My source told me
Monsignor Ganswein was heard to say:
"I was told this was supposed to be a party!"