Pope Francis on Monday made a plea for an end to conflict within the Roman Curia, the Vatican’s central bureaucracy, in a traditional pre-Christmas address to them.
“It would be good for us to stop living in conflict and feel once more that we are journeying together, open to crisis,’’ the 84-year-old pontiff said.
“The first evil that conflict leads us to, and which we must try to avoid, is gossip. Let us be attentive to this! Talking about gossip is not an obsession of mine,’’ Francis warned.
The Church should not be viewed in terms of conflict, right versus left, progressive versus traditionalist, “or with winners and losers’’, he insisted.
The pontiff instead called for Curia members to embrace the newness born of crisis and willed by the (Holy) Spirit, and contribute to ongoing reform efforts.
Pope Francis was elected in 2013 with an implicit reform mandate, after years in which the Catholic Church was rocked by financial and clerical sex abuse scandals.
Those scandals have continued under his pontificate, which has also been characterised by major tensions between Francis and his arch-conservative critics.
The pope compared the Church to a piece of pottery that was chipped, damaged and cracked, but warned against judging it hastily on the basis of the crises caused by scandals past and present.
He lamented how problems immediately end up in the newspapers.
“This has always been the case, whereas signs of hope only make the news much later, if at all.”