VATICAN CITY ( Associated Press) — Pope Francis warned Vatican bureaucrats Thursday to beware of the evil lurking among them, describing them as “humble demons” who prey on those who live Catholicism harshly and inconsistently. We do.
Francis used his annual Christmas message to the Roman Curia to once again warn the cardinals, bishops and priests who serve in the Holy See that they are not above condemnation, and are in fact vulnerable to evil.
Francis told them that by staying at the heart of the Catholic Church, “we can be tempted to think that we are safer, that we are better off, that we no longer have to convert.”
However, Vatican residents are in greater danger because they are surrounded by “humble demons” who “humble, enter unnoticed,” the pope told the religious in the Apostolic Palace’s Hall of Blessings.
For years Francis has used his Christmas message to deliver an annual reprimand to Vatican bureaucrats, leading them to a typical Jesuit “exam of conscience” to help them repent before Christmas.
His harshest criticism came in 2014, when he listed the “15 evils of Kariya” perceived by some as “gossip terrorism”, “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and leading a “hypocritical” double life. The following year, Francis offered an antidote for those sins with a “list of virtues” that he hoped he would still have in the form of honesty, humility and abstinence.
There was a similar tone this year, and Francis resumed his criticism of the forms of abuse that the religious use among themselves.
“There is not just violence of weapons, there is verbal violence, psychological violence, violence of abuse of power, violence hidden in gossip,” the pontiff said in a possible reference to a new case of abuse of authority. Shook his Jesuit order. “Don’t take advantage of your position and role to put others down.”
The Pope has also generally appeared to target conservatives and ultra-conservatives, who have become his greatest critics. Francis criticized their way of living the faith and stressed that being a Catholic does not mean following a series of immutable rules, but “a path of understanding the message of Christ (which) has no end and continues to lead us”. challenges.”
“True heresy consists not only in preaching another gospel (…), as Paul reminds us, but also in failing to translate it into current languages and methods,” he said.
Traditionalist Catholics have criticized Francis’ emphasis on mercy and openness on issues such as allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments in civil marriages. Some have even gone so far as to accuse him of heresy for some of his gestures and teachings, such as allowing “pagan” statues in the Vatican.
Francis devoted much of his speech to the need to be vigilant about the work of the devil, a topic he recently discussed during his catechism lessons with the general public.
He told Vatican bureaucrats that it is not enough to condemn or banish evil, as it always comes back in different forms, stronger than before. Francis used the plural word “we” several times, suggesting that he included himself among members of the Vatican who should be vigilant in the face of Satan.
“Before it looked rough and violent, now it looks elegant and refined,” he warned. He asked that religious people be careful not to expose them again and pointed out that “these ‘educated demons’ (…) enter politely without notice.”
Francis tells the story of a 17th-century convent where the superior, Mother Angelica, charismatically reformed herself and her monastery after evil had entered, but Satan returned in the form of hardened faith.
“They had cast out the devil, but he returned seven times stronger, and under the guise of penance and harshness, he imposed harshness and presumption that they were superior to others,” Francisco warned.
Some of Francis’ main critics were in the same audience with some of his allies. Cardinal Angelo Bassiu, who was ousted by Francis in 2020 and stripped of his rights as cardinal after being accused of financial misconduct, was returning for the annual Christmas celebrations.
Becciu is on trial at the Vatican criminal court, along with nine others, and denies the charges. Francis recently allowed him to continue to attend Vatican events, a sign the pope may think he was ahead of the game in approving Bacchus before the court decides on his guilt or innocence. Pronounced the verdict.