The Pope unleashes on his cardinals and lectures them about showing ‘humility’ in annual Christmas address

  • Pope Francis delivered message to Vatican cardinals, bishops and bureaucrats
  • He told administrators to ’embrace humility’ and hit out at pride, self-interest and the ‘glitter of our armour’
  • 85-year-old added that staff should not remain ‘closed in their own little world’ or feel they are indispensable
  • Francis’ is known to use his annual Christmas address to take staff to task for their perceived moral and personal failings

Pope Francis told cardinals, bishops and bureaucrats at the Vatican to ’embrace humility’ in an Christmas annual message as he hit out at pride, self-interest and the ‘glitter of our armour’ he said was perverting spiritual lives and corrupting the church’s mission.

In an address to the Curia, the Catholic Church’s central bureaucracy, the 85-year-old Pope used the word ‘humility’ nearly 30 times as he took administrators to task for their perceived moral and personal failings.

His approach this year was however notably softer than in the past.

In an address to the Curia, as the Catholic Church’s central bureaucracy is known, Pope Francis used the word ‘humility’ nearly 30 times as he took cardinals, bishops and bureaucrats to task

The 85-year-old said Vatican administrators should stick to a sober lifestyle as they help him serve the 1.3 billion Catholics across the world from its headquarters in the Vatican

He said the administrators, including cardinals and bishops as well as lower-level staff, should not remain ‘closed in their own little world,’ form cliques, or feel they are indispensable.

They should, instead, stick to a sober lifestyle as they help him serve the 1.3 billion Catholics across the world from its headquarters in the Vatican.

‘Only by serving, and by seeing our work as service, can we be truly helpful to everyone. We are here – I myself before anyone else – to learn how to kneel and adore the Lord in his humility, not other lords in their empty trappings,’ he told the administrators gathered in a Vatican hall.

‘The moment comes in each individual’s life when he or she desires to set aside the glitter of this world’s glory for the fullness of an authentic life, with no further need for armour or masks,’ he said.

The gathered cardinals and bishops were seen stone-faced as they listened to Francis lecture them in the Hall of Blessings, which was had been decked out in twinkling Christmas trees and lights.

The pope has used the occasion in the past to list what he called the ‘illnesses’ and ‘diseases’ of the Vatican’s central bureaucracy

The pope has used the occasion in the past to list what he called the ‘illnesses’ and ‘diseases’ of the Vatican’s central bureaucracy. 

‘The humble are those who are concerned not simply with the past but also with the future, since they know how to look ahead, to spread their branches, remembering the past with gratitude,’ Francis added.

‘The proud, on the other hand, simply repeat, grow rigid and enclose themselves in that repetition, feeling certain about what they know and fearful of anything new because they cannot control it.’

Despite fears over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Francis is set to take part in five services of public worship over the Christmas period. 

Despite fears over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Francis is set to take part in five services of public worship over the Christmas period

A list published recently by the Vatican shows that Francis, who at 85 is one of the longest living pontifs, will celebrates midnight mass at St Peter’s Basilica – although it will actually take place at the earlier time of 7.30pm on Christmas Eve.

Francis had last year moved the service earlier to allow people to return home before a curfew that was in effect as part of Italy’s coronavirus restrictions.

He will give his traditional Christmas blessing ‘urbi et orbi’ (to the city and the world) speech on Christmas Day.

Other festive events include the Feast of Mary, Mother of God on December 31, and the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.

The Vatican still checks people’s temperatures as they enter St Peter’s Basilica, requires everyone to wear masks and has arranged seating to keep distance between the congregation.

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