Saturday, 21 December 2013

Pope Francis affirms work of curial officials

Given his previous remarks about vipers, it was with some trepidation that I began to read the address that Pope Francis gave to the Roman Curia today. Many news services have picked up on the part where he warns of the danger of constantly inspecting and questioning. They have gone along with the narrative of the Holy Father constantly criticising the Curia.

However most of the address is positive in tone, illustrating a hallmark of this papacy where statements that are perceived as harsh are later moderated in other addresses. I was a little saddened by the "vipers" comment because I know priests who work at the Holy See with great integrity in an environment which can be difficult especially for those of a non-mediterranean background. As in any "Staff HQ" or civil service environment, there are careerists and dysfunctional superiors but there are also good hard-working men who have the Church's best interest at heart. So I found this passage very welcome:
[...] a very special and heartfelt "thank you" goes to those of you who have worked here for so many years with immense dedication, hidden from the eyes of the world. This is something truly admirable. I have such high regard for these "Monsignori" who are cut from the same mould as the curiales of olden times, exemplary persons… We need them today, too! People who work with competence, precision and self-sacrifice in the fulfilment of their daily duties.
The Holy Father went on to stress the importance of professionalism, service, and holiness of life, and warned against the temptation of gossip.

Spare a thought for the priests who work in the Roman Curia. It is not a job I would want for all the world but it is essential in the life of the Church that we have some sort of organisation at the centre. May they indeed be given the graces of professionalism, service and holiness.
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