Here Are The 15 ‘Ailments’ The Pope Says Are Plaguing Vatican Officials

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December 22, 2014 12:16 p.m.

Pope Francis detailed 15 “ailments” he believes are affecting the Vatican Curia as part of his annual Christmas message, which he delivered on Monday while greeting the cardinals, bishops and priests who serve him and the Catholic Church.

Below are the ailments, which were described in a press release from the Vatican Information Service:

  1. Acting “immortal” or immune to improvement. “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.”
  2. Spending too much time working. “There is a time for everything.”
  3. Losing inner peace. “The sickness of mental and spiritual hardening.”
  4. Planning too extensively. “One falls prey to this sickness because it is easier and more convenient to settle into static and unchanging positions.”
  5. Failing to collaborate. “The body loses its harmonious functionality and its temperance, becoming an orchestra of cacophony.”
  6. Suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s.” This is “forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the ‘first love.'”
  7. Being a braggart and measuring yourself against others. “The ailment of rivalry and vainglory: when appearances, the colour of one’s robes, insignia and honours become the most important aim in life.”
  8. Living a double life. “Existential schizophrenia: the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of the hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and the progressive spiritual emptiness that cannot be filled by degrees or academic honours.”
  9. Gossiping. “It is the sickness of the cowardly who, not having the courage to speak directly to the people involved, instead speak behind their backs.”
  10. Idolizing superiors. “The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence.”
  11. Lacking compassion and empathy. “The disease of indifference towards others arises when each person thinks only of himself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships.”
  12. Being theatrically grim. “Those who believe that in order to be serious it is necessary to paint their faces with melancholy and severity, and to treat others – especially those they consider inferior – with rigidity, hardness and arrogance.”
  13. Being too materialistic. “The disease of accumulation: when the apostle seeks to fill an existential emptiness of the heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity but simply to feel secure.”
  14. Forming cliques. “The ailment of closed circles: when belonging to a group becomes stronger than belonging to the Body and, in some situations, to Christ Himself.”
  15. Being an exhibitionist. “This is the disease of those who seek insatiably to multiply their power.”
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