Pope warns Vatican: Forgetting the central role of service causes ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s’

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Pope Francis has spoken out against the “sickness” of greed and lust for power at the Vatican in his annual Christmas speech, warning that senior officials forgetting the importance of serving God is a sign of “spiritual Alzheimer’s.”

Pope Francis delivers Christmas message to the Curia in the Clementina hall at the Vatican, Dec. 22. / Andreas Solaro / Reuters

Pope Francis delivers Christmas message to the Curia in the Clementina hall at the Vatican, Dec. 22. / Andreas Solaro / Reuters

The pope’s direct words left many clerics at the gathering “uncomfortable,” according to observers.

“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. … It is the sickness of the rich fool who thinks he will live for all eternity, and of those who transform themselves into masters and believe themselves superior to others, rather than at their service,” Francis said on Tuesday in a half-hour speech before the Roman Catholic Curia, the church’s central administration.

“Spiritual Alzheimer’s disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the ‘first love’: this is a progressive decline of spiritual faculties, that over a period of time causes serious handicaps, making one incapable of carrying out certain activities autonomously, living in a state of absolute dependence on one’s own often imaginary views,” Francis continued. …

According to some observers, many of the gathered clerics were left “uncomfortable” by Francis’ words, the National Catholic Reporter noted.

The pontiff has had to deal with a number of controversies coming from top level Vatican representatives during his time as leader of Catholic Church. Last year, he suspended controversial German “Bishop of Bling” Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, following revelations that the bishop spent over $42 million on a luxury residence.

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