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Pope urges humility as he chides cardinals and bishops in Christmas address

As he has before, Francis used his annual Christmas address to take Vatican administrators to task for their perceived moral and personal failings.

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Pope Francis used his annual Christmas address to take Vatican administrators to task (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Pope Francis used his annual Christmas address to take Vatican administrators to task (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Pope Francis used his annual Christmas address to take Vatican administrators to task (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Pope Francis has urged Vatican cardinals, bishops and bureaucrats to embrace humility this Christmas, saying their pride, self-interest and the “glitter of our armour” was perverting their spiritual lives and corrupting the church’s mission.

As he has in the past, Francis used his annual Christmas address to take Vatican administrators to task for their perceived moral and personal failings, denouncing in particular those who “rigidly” hide behind Catholic Church traditions rather than seek out the neediest with humility.

The humble are those who are concerned not simply with the past but also with the future, since they know how to look ahead, to spread their branches, remembering the past with gratitudePope Francis

As they have in the past, cardinals and bishops sat stone-faced as they listened to Francis lecture them in the Hall of Blessings, which was otherwise decked out in jolly twinkling Christmas trees and poinsettias.

“The humble are those who are concerned not simply with the past but also with the future, since they know how to look ahead, to spread their branches, remembering the past with gratitude,” Francis told them.

“The proud, on the other hand, simply repeat, grow rigid and enclose themselves in that repetition, feeling certain about what they know and fearful of anything new because they cannot control it.”

The proud who are so inward-looking are consumed with their own interests, the pontiff said.

“As a consequence, they neither learn from their sins nor are they genuinely open to forgiveness. This is a tremendous corruption disguised as a good. We need to avoid it,” he added.

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Since becoming pope in 2013, Francis has used his Christmas address to rail against the Curia, as the Holy See’s bureaucracy is known, denouncing the “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that some members suffer and the resistance he had encountered to his efforts to reform and revitalise the institution and the Catholic Church at large.


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