Pope Francis deplores Vatican ‘ills’

Pope FrancisPope 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.

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

He compared the performance of the church’s civil servants to that of an orchestra playing out of tune because they fail to collaborate and have no team spirit, the BBC’s David Willey reports from Rome.

Before his election in March 2013, the pontiff had never worked in Rome, and he is clearly upset at the internal opposition he has encountered to some of the reforms he wants to carry out, our correspondent adds.

The Pope says the Church elite must reach out to poor and vulnerable worshippers

Since his election last year, Pope Francis has 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.

He has appointed a team of advisers to tackle corruption and poor administration in the Vatican.

He has also suggested that the Curia’s power – concentrated in Rome for centuries – could be diluted to some extent by giving Catholic bishops around the world a bigger say in Church doctrine.

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