“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accepting greetings in the market places, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor in banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation” (Mark 12:38-40; cf: Matthew 23:1-36).
7 November 2021. 32nd Sunday in OT. Cycle B-2021. 1Kings 17:10-16 + Hebrews 9:24-28 + Mark 12:38-44
In the early years of his papacy, on 22 December 2014, Pope Francis delivered to the Roman Curia a very short Christmas Greeting followed by a very long CHRISTMAS GRATING.
Taking advantage of the big Christmas gathering then of the Roman Curia, he grated the Roman Curia, highlighting fifteen malignant diseases afflicting them.
Let me summarize Pope Francis’ Christmas Grating paralleling Jesus’ denunciation of the religious leaders of His time, ‘Woe to you, Scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites!’ (cf. Matthew 23).
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #1: Superiority complex. Thinking “immortal”, “immune” or downright “indispensable.”
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #2: “Martha complex.” Excessive busy-ness, neglecting “the better part” sitting at the feet of Jesus.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #3: Mental and spiritual “petrification.” A heart of stone, “stiff-necked.”
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #4: Executive complex. Excessive planning and functionalism, becoming an office manager.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #5: Poor coordination—like an orchestra that produces noise.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #6: “Spiritual Alzheimer’s.” Losing the memory of personal “salvation history,” causing progressive decline in spiritual faculties.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #7: Rivalry and vainglory. Appearances, color of clothes, titles become the primary objective in life.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #8: Existential Schizophrenia. Living a double life, hypocrisy; abandoning pastoral service and restricting oneself to bureaucratic matters, and losing contact with reality and concrete people.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #9: Gossiping, grumbling and back-biting.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #10: Idolizing superiors, not God. Courting superiors hoping to gain favor; becoming victims of careerism and opportunism.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #11: Self-centered, unsociable. Indifference to others; thinking of himself, losing sincerity and warmth of human relationship.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #12: Lugubrious face. Glum and dour persons who think that to be serious we have to put on a face of melancholy.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #13: Material hoarding. Filling an existential void in his heart by accumulating material goods to feel secure.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #14: Belonging to cliques more than to Christ and to His Body.
Woe to you, Curia! Diseased #15: Worldly profit. Turns service into power, and power into worldly profit, or even greater power.
The Pope admitted that these woeful diseases afflicted every Christian, not only the Roman Curia.
Only the Holy Spirit can heal these diseases, he said, and healing comes to those who admit being afflicted and who decide to get healed. VSS
This is an adaptation of Matthew 23:1-36 (cf. Markk 12:38-44) to the Pope’s “Presentation of the Christmas Greetings to the Roman Curia,” m.vatican.va.
Picture credit: Pope Francis berates curia, from Vatican News. Inserted Pointing clipart, from GorfennaCommunity.co.uk.