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‘Careerism is leprosy,’ Pope warns future diplomats

By on Thursday, 6 June 2013

Pope Francis looks on during a meeting with Vatican diplomatic corps back in March (CNS)

Pope Francis looks on during a meeting with Vatican diplomatic corps back in March (CNS)

Pope Francis has described careerism as a “leprosy” in an address to future diplomats.

Addressing members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which is dedicated to training priests to serve in the diplomatic corps and the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, he said: “Careerism is leprosy! Leprosy! Please, no careerism!”

Pope Francis continued: “For this reason, each of you must be willing to integrate your vision of the Church, however legitimate, every personal idea or assessment, within the horizons seen by Peter, of his particular mission at the service of communion and the unity of the flock of Christ, of his pastoral charity which embraces the whole world, and that, thanks also to the action of the Pontifical diplomatic service, wishes to make itself present especially in those places, often forgotten, where the needs of the Church and of humanity are greatest.”

The Pope reminded students that they must nurture a deep spiritual life in order to attain the “inner freedom” that is necessary for their future work. He said: “Have great care for the spiritual life, which is the source of inner freedom. Without prayer, there is no interior freedom. You can make a precious treasure of the instruments of conforming your priestly spirituality to Christ Himself, cultivating a life of prayer and making your daily work the gymnasium of your sanctification.”

Pope Francis went on to praise Bless John XXII. He said: “Here I am happy to recall the figure of Blessed John XXIII, the fiftieth anniversary of whose death we celebrated a few days ago: his work in the Pontifical diplomatic service was one of the places, and not the least significant, in which his sanctity was formed. Rereading his writings, one is impressed by the care he always took in guarding his soul, in the midst of the most varied ecclesial and political occupations. Here was born his inner freedom, the joy that he conveyed outwardly, and the effectiveness of his pastoral and diplomatic action.

“As he said in his Journal of a Soul, ‘the more mature I become in years and in experience, the more I recognize that the surest means for my personal sanctification and for the greater success of my service to the Holy See, remains the vigilant effort to reduce everything – principles, speeches, positions, affairs, to the greatest simplicity and calmness; in my vineyard, always to prune that which is simply useless foliage . . . and to go directly to that which is truth, justice, charity, above all charity. Any other [way] of doing things, is nothing but posturing and grasping at personal affirmation, which betrays itself and becomes cumbersome and ridiculous.’ (Cinisello Balsamo 2000, p. 497).

“He wanted to prune his vineyard: to chase out the foliage, to prune. . . And some years later, joined to the end of his work in the Pontifical diplomatic service, when he was already Patriarch of Venice, he wrote, ‘Now I find myself completely in the ministry of souls. Truly I have always held that for an ecclesiastic, diplomacy, so to say, should always be permeated by a pastoral spirit; otherwise, it counts for nothing, and makes a holy mission ridiculous’ (ibid., pp. 513-14).”

Pope Francis added: “But this is important! Listen well: When in the Nunciature there is a secretary or a nuncio that doesn’t go along the way of sanctity, and gets involved in so many forms, in so many kinds of spiritual worldliness, he looks ridiculous, and everyone laughs at him! Please don’t be ridiculous: either [be] saints or go back to the diocese and be a pastor, but don’t be ridiculous in the diplomatic [service], in the diplomatic live, where there is so much danger of becoming worldly in spirituality.”

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Pope Francis added: “But this is important! Listen well: When in the
    Nunciature there is a secretary or a nuncio that doesn’t go along the
    way of sanctity, and gets involved in so many forms, in so many kinds of
    spiritual worldliness, he looks ridiculous, and everyone laughs at him!
    Please don’t be ridiculous: either [be] saints or go back to the
    diocese and be a pastor, but don’t be ridiculous in the diplomatic
    [service], in the diplomatic live, where there is so much danger of
    becoming worldly in spirituality.”

    LOL

    Pope Francis is BRILLIANT !!!!

  • Jose Ramirez

    Pope Francis has been portrayed as one who has affectionately reached out to persons affected by leprosy. However his comments about correlating careers with leprosy is an insult to those of us affected by leprosy. Either his PR person Monsignor Lombardi is not doing his job in properly portraying that Pope or Pope Francis simply does not understand the damage he does with his words in extending the stigma associated with leprosy.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Foolish, to describe some activity as being akin to a degenerative disease is NOT any kind of silly “disrespect” for the sufferers of that same disease.

    This is just some more so-called “political correctness” run amok …

  • Burt

    So your thinking he is BRILLIANT because he ridicules those who end up risking damnation through careerism? Wouldn’t want to confess my sins to this prelate..he might just laugh at me. This popes not brilliant in my mind JP.

  • James M

    “either [be] saints or go back to the diocese and be a pastor”

    ## The implication is a teeny bit unfortunate. Just saying…

  • James M

    If he has to tell that bunch something as basic as that, something an intelligent and not-yet-lapsed child could work out, no wonder the Church is not fit for purpose. This is Catholicism for nine-year olds. What a come-down :(

  • James M

    It’s a very insensitive remark, which a little consideration could have avoided. A Pope should be able to see that.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Right — so your magic solution for the corruption that one hears constant complaints about in the various Curial offices — is for Pope Francis to sit back, keep cool, and never “offend” anyone ?

    Piffle, of the sort that Michael Voris describes as being from the “Church of nice”.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Rubbish.

    And I cannot seem to find any actual lepers complaining about the Pope’s latest attack upon worldly-mindedness.