As reform talks start, Pope vows to change Vatican mentality

Tue Oct 1, 2013 8:22am EDT
 
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis began landmark meetings on Tuesday to reform the Vatican, promising to do all he could to change the mentality of an institution he said was too focused on its own interests.

Francis and eight cardinals from around the world are holding three days of closed-door meetings to discuss the Vatican's troubled administration and to map out possible changes in the worldwide Church.

As the talks began, left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper published a long interview conducted by its atheist editor last week in which the Argentine pope spoke frankly about the problems facing the Vatican administration, known as the Curia.

He said too many previous popes in the Church's long history had been "narcissists" who let themselves be flattered by "courtier" aides in the Curia instead of concentrating on the wider mission of the universal Church.

"The (papal) court is the leprosy of the papacy," said Francis, who has brought a new style of openness, consultation and simplicity to the Vatican. He has shunned the spacious papal apartment and lives in small quarters in a guest house.

There are some "courtiers" among administrators in today's Curia, he said, adding that its main defect is that it is too inward-looking.

"It looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, in large part temporal interests. This Vatican-centric vision neglects the world around it and I will do everything to change it," he said.

Francis said the eight cardinals he had chosen to make up his advisory board did not have selfish motives.   Continued...

 
Pope Francis poses with cardinals during a meeting at the Vatican October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano