Pope Francis sharply criticises Vatican bureaucracy

Pope Francis has sharply criticised the Vatican bureaucracy in a pre-Christmas address to cardinals, complaining of “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and “the terrorism of gossip”.

He said the Curia – the administrative pinnacle of the Roman Catholic Church – was suffering from 15 “ailments”, which he wanted cured in the New Year.

Pope Francis – the first Latin American pontiff – also criticised “those who look obsessively at their own image”.

He has demanded reform of the Curia.

There was silence at the end of the Pope’s speech.

Bigger say

Addressing the Curia on Monday, Pope Francis said some power-hungry clerics were guilty of “cold-bloodedly killing the reputation of their own colleagues and brothers”.

Analysis: BBC’s David Willey in Rome

Clearly Pope Francis is meeting opposition among the nearly 3,000 strong staff of the Italian-dominated Curia.

He had never worked in Rome before his election as pope last year, and – as a Vatican outsider from the other end of the world – is clearly frustrated by the slow-moving and creaking Vatican bureaucracy.

He is trying to reform it with the help of a new group of cardinal advisers he has called in from every continent to draw up a new Vatican constitution.


Before his election in March 2013, the pontiff encountered internal opposition to some of the reforms he wants to carry out.

He has set up a series of specialist bodies to fight corruption and poor management, appointing a team of advisers.

The Pope also launched a clean-up of the Vatican Bank, officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). The IOR has long had a poor reputation, after a succession of scandals.

The following two tabs change content below.