by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith
posted Saturday, 24 Dec 2016
The Pope’s end of year speech to the Roman Curia has become something of an event, thanks to two things. First of all, this is the Pope who is supposedly reforming the Curia, and that has aroused interest. Secondly, this is the Pope who made that speech back in 2014 which lambasted his audience for their fifteen spiritual ills including “spiritual Alzheimer’s”. So when the Pope gets up to speak on what had once been a rather dull routine occasion, people now tend to tune in rather than out.
Then there is a matter of the presents. In the old days each member of the Curia got a bottle of prosecco and a panettone from the Holy Father. The Pope has cut out such fripperies. On one occasion each was given a CD of the Pope’s speeches. This year it was a book, recommended by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, who, funnily enough, is one of the Four Cardinals who sent the Pope the famous dubia which remain still unanswered. The book is entitled “Measures to treat diseases of the soul” (Industriae ad curandos animae morbos), by the Italian Jesuit Fr Claudio Acquaviva. No doubt it will make cheery Christmas reading.
But to the speech. This was, to put it mildly, cryptic, at least to English ears.
“The 12 principles for reform, translated by Vatican Radio, are: individual responsibility (personal conversion), pastoral concern (pastoral conversion), missionary spirit (Christocentrism), clear organisation, improved functioning, modernisation (updating), sobriety, subsidiarity, synodality, Catholicity, professionalism, gradualism (discernment).”
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