Pope Francis gave a talk to the officials of the curia that admonished them to guard against a variety of spiritual diseases. The Washington Post seems surprised by the tenor of the talk. You can read the Post‘s article here. And here is another article that lists all of the fifteen spiritual diseases that Francis mentioned.
The Post article illustrates the mainstream media’s failure to achieve a thorough understanding of Catholicism. The article closes by showing pictures from a meeting of the pope with the families of people who work for the Vatican. It looks like they are all having fun, so the Post says that it seems this was a “friendlier” meeting. That in turn implies that the talk the pope gave to the curia was “unfriendly.” I don’t mean to press this point too hard. The piece has a kind of lighthearted quality, and the authors may be right to note that it is unusual for a pope to use a talk like this to warn curial officials against a bunch of sins to which they may be tempted. Still, what they miss is that for a Catholic, criticism need not be unfriendly. Quite the opposite, warning people against sin is a very important act of friendship, an act of love and concern for them. This is true among Catholics generally, but it would also be a duty of a pastor towards his flock. The pope is the pastor of all Catholics in a way, but the people who work for him in the curia are immediately under his supervision. He would have a particular duty to admonish them against whatever errors he might see them making. Also, it may be that the Post is making a bigger deal of the talk than it deserves. Is the pope really lambasting the curia, or is he simply warning them against the kind of mediocrity, shallowness, and indifference that can overtake anyone who does not remain on his toes, spiritually speaking.