Pope tells cardinals to shun intrigue, cliques of a royal court

Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:22am EST
 
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis urged cardinals, who make up the top echelon of the Roman Catholic Church, on Sunday to shun the intrigue, gossip and cliques typical of a royal court.

Since his election nearly a year ago, Francis has often told his top aides not to live or behave like a privileged class. The eight-year papacy of his predecessor, Benedict, was marked by mishaps and missteps, which were often blamed on a dysfunctional Vatican bureaucracy and intrigue befitting a Renaissance court.

On Sunday, Francis celebrated a mass with 18 of the 19 new cardinals who were elevated to that rank on Saturday. One could not attend because of illness.

"A cardinal enters the Church of Rome, not a royal court," Francis said in his sermon, welcoming the men into the elite group that help him run the Church in the Vatican and around the world.

"May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism and preferences," he said during a solemn ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica.

"Jesus did not come to teach us good manners or to behave as if we were at a social gathering," Francis told them.

It was the second consecutive day that Francis had warned cardinals to shun worldly temptations in the corridors of clerical power, either at home or in the nerve center of the 1.2 billion-member Church.

At the induction ceremony on Saturday, which was attended by ex-pope Benedict, Francis urged the cardinals to avoid rivalries and factions. It was the first time Francis and Benedict, who resigned on February 28, 2013, had been together for a liturgical celebration.   Continued...

 
Pope Francis holds the Book of the Gospels as he celebrates a mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi