Pope Francis digs at Vatican’s narcissistic nature, calls for change

Pope Francis, using strong language to condemn a “Vatican-centric view” of the Roman Catholic Church, says that church leaders have too often been narcissists, “flattered and sickeningly excited by their courtiers.”
Extending his departure in style from his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Francis vowed in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that he would do everything in his power to change that view.
“The church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God,” he said.

The pope suggested that the church should rethink the relationship between its leaders and the faithful.
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“Leaders of the Church have often been Narcissus, flattered and sickeningly excited by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy,” he said.

Asked what he meant by “the court,” Francis said that he did not mean the Curia — the officials who govern the church from Vatican City — but something more like the quartermaster’s office in an army, which provides clothing and equipment to troops.

“It is Vatican-centric,” he said. “It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I’ll do everything I can to change it.”
The pope said that he was against what he called “clericalists,” saying that when he meets one, “I suddenly become anti-clerical.” He referred to St. Paul’s outreach to pagans and other religions, said that the church should include people who feel excluded, and preach peace.
In a reference to the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, which led to modern reforms in the church, the pope said: “This includes a dialogue with non-believers. After that, not so much was done in this direction. I have to the humility and ambition to do so.”
The interview was conducted last week in the Vatican guest house, where Francis, who has been praised for what is seen as a simpler and more humble approach to the papacy, lives in a low-key residence.

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