Pope chastises senior clergy for 'sickness' of greed and 'spiritual Alzheimer's'

by Staff, |
Pope Francis leads prayer overlooking Saint Peter's Square October 26, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis spoke about the "sickness" of greed and those who abuse power during his Christmas speech Tuesday. The leader of the Catholic church was addressing the Roman Curia, which has 3,000 members and helps govern the religion.

"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. ... It is the sickness of the rich fool who thinks he will live for all eternity, and of those who transform themselves into masters and believe themselves superior to others, rather than at their service," the Pope said.

He also spoke about the kind of "spiritual Alzheimer's" which leads to skewed morality instead of relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance.

"Spiritual Alzheimer's disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the 'first love': this is a progressive decline of spiritual faculties, that over a period of time causes serious handicaps, making one incapable of carrying out certain activities autonomously, living in a state of absolute dependence on one's own often imaginary views," Francis continued.

"The ailment of rivalry and vainglory: when appearances, the colour of one's robes, insignia and honours become the most important aim in life. ... It is the disorder that leads us to become false men and women, living a false 'mysticism' and a false 'quietism,'" he elaborated.

The speech differed greatly from another short talk with Vatican staff members, whom he asked to forgive "shortcomings" of the senior officials of the church. Though he did not mention any names, the Pontiff could have been referring to the German "bishop of bling" who was suspended last year, BBC reported.