Pope Francis Down With Gay Rights, Oppressed Workers, Green Energy, Blessed Pets and Cuba. The Guys Who Work For Him, Not So Much

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In the last year, Pope Francis has irked right-wing Catholics by advocating, often controversially, for gay couples - "Who am I to judge?" - oppressed workers - "Purchasing is always a moral, and not simply an economic act” - green energy and other action on climate change - "If we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us” - pets - "Paradise is open to all God’s creatures" - divorced believers, Muslims, Palestinians and, most recently, detente with Cuba. Now he's used the traditionally pleasant end-of-the-year holiday message to the Roman Curia, clerics who govern the Vatican, to issue a scathing critique of a bureaucracy sick with power, greed, political maneuvering and lack of empathy in a sort of "spiritual Alzheimer's" where they have “lost their memory of meeting the Lord” and “depend entirely on the present, on their passions, their whims and manias." Topping the Church's 15 grave maladies, he charged, is feeling “immortal, immune, or indispensable,” which "derives from a pathology of power," and an “existential schizophrenia” within which clerics live privileged “double lives” that make them "lose touch with reality, with concrete people." Francis also blasted the malady of "chatter, murmur, and gossip” and a "rigidity, toughness and arrogance" that he sees as "symptoms of fear and insecurity.” He even reminded them of the goodness of humor and urged them to lighten up for God's sake. Reflecting on these failings, he suggested, would be a “nice step for all of us to prepare for Christmas.” During his speech, his audience reportedly remained pretty grim. Go Pope.

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