Pope decries ‘malevolent resistance’ to needed Vatican reforms

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis decried “malevolent” internal resistance to his campaign to reform the Vatican bureaucracy on Thursday and said lay men and women should get top jobs if they are more qualified than clerics.
For the third year, Francis used his Christmas greetings to the Roman Catholic Church’s central bureaucracy, or Curia, to lecture the assembled cardinals, bishops and department heads on the need for change.
The Argentine-born pontiff, who in his 2014 address said the Italian-dominated Curia suffered from “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, listed 12 guidelines to reform including better co-ordination, dedication to service and openness to “the signs of the times”.
Speaking forcefully, he acknowledged that there had been resistance from some self-centred members of the bureaucracy, some of it open, some of it hidden and some hypocritical.
“But there has also been some malevolent resistance,” Francis, who turned 80 last week, told cardinals, bishops and monsignors gathered in the Vatican’s frescoed Sala Clementina.
“This type germinates in distorted minds and presents itself when the devil inspires wicked intentions, often in lambs’ clothing,” he said.
Last month, four conservative cardinals made a rare public challenge to the pope over some of his teachings in a major document on the family, accusing him of sowing confusion on important moral issues and requesting clarification. Francis has not directly answered them but said some people displayed “a certain legalism” and misunderstood the document.
After his election in 2013, Francis set out to reform the Curia, whose intrigues, alleged corruption and leaks were widely held responsible for the decision by his predecessor Benedict XVI to become the first pope in six centuries to resign. — Reuters