Office gossip, long hours, poor coordination, big egos. Do these sound like pain points in your workplace? Well, the Pope can relate.
Francis in his Christmas speech on Monday blasted the Vatican for the 15 "ailments" he said are plaguing the Curia. While they weren't expecting Christmas bonuses, they were reportedly taken aback, with few smiling faces by the time Francis reached the end of his sermon.
The Pope furthered his "ailment" metaphor by peppering his speech with words like "sickness," "disease," and "schizophrenia" to lambaste the Vatican bureaucracy. He also made an indirect reference to the child abuse scandal that has upended the Catholic Church.
"This disease also begins from good intentions, but with the passing of time enslaves its members, becoming a cancer which threatens the harmony of the body and causes a lot of evil and scandal, especially toward our small brothers and sisters," Francis said.
This isn't the first time the Pope made news recently for flexing his leadership muscles on the world stage. The U.S. and Cuba announced last week that they kissed and made up, and Francis is being credited with bringing President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba to the negotiating table with a series of letters to the world leaders. The Vatican then hosted a diplomatic meeting between both sides in October, according to The New York Times.
The Pope's Christmas speech reminds us that even the holiest of workers are not exempt from a demanding boss or office politics.
Here's a summary of the Curia's 15 ailments, as reported by the Vatican news service.
1. False indispensability. "The sickness of considering oneself 'immortal,' 'immune,' or 'indispensable', neglecting the necessary and habitual controls. A Curia that is not self-critical, that does not stay up to date, that does not seek to better itself, is an ailing body."
2. Workaholism. "[E]xcessive industriousness; the sickness of those who immerse themselves in work, inevitably neglecting 'the better part' of sitting at Jesus' feet. Therefore, Jesus required his disciples to rest a little, as neglecting the necessary rest leads to stress and agitation."
3. Corporate disillusionment. "The sickness of mental and spiritual hardening: that of those who, along the way, lose their inner serenity, vivacity, and boldness and conceal themselves behind paper, becoming working machines rather than men of God."
4. Perfectionism. "The ailment of excessive planning and functionalism: This is when the apostle plans everything in detail and believes that by perfect planning things effectively progress, thus becoming a sort of accountant."
5. Poor communication. "Sickness of poor coordination develops when the communion between members is lost, and the body loses its harmonious functionality and its temperance, becoming an orchestra of cacophony because the members do not collaborate and do not work with a spirit of communion or as a team."
6. Forgotten mission statement. "Spiritual Alzheimer's disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the 'first love': This is a progressive decline of spiritual faculties, that over a period of time causes serious handicaps, making one incapable of carrying out certain activities autonomously, living in a state of absolute dependence on one's own often imaginary views."
7. Excessive competition. "The ailment of rivalry and vainglory: When appearances, the color of one's robes, insignia, and honors, become the most important aim in life."
8. Institutionalization. "Existential schizophrenia: the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of the hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and the progressive spiritual emptiness that cannot be filled by degrees or academic honors. This ailment particularly afflicts those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic matters, thus losing contact with reality and with real people."
9. Office gossip. "Chatter, grumbling, and gossip: This is a serious illness that begins simply, often just in the form of having a chat, and takes people over, turning them into sowers of discord, like Satan, and in many cases cold-blooded murderers of the reputations of their colleagues and brethren."
10. Brownnosing. "The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, honoring people rather than God."
11. Isolationism. "The disease of indifference toward others arises when each person thinks only of himself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships."
12. Disgruntled-employee syndrome. "The illness of the funereal face: or rather, that of the gruff and the grim, those who believe that in order to be serious it is necessary to paint their faces with melancholy and severity, and to treat others--especially those they consider inferior--with rigidity, hardness, and arrogance."
13. Materialism. "The disease of accumulation: When the apostle seeks to fill an existential emptiness of the heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity but simply to feel secure."
14. Office cliques. "The ailment of closed circles: when belonging to a group becomes stronger than belonging to the Body and, in some situations, to Christ Himself."
15. Power-hungry employees. The "disease of worldly profit and exhibitionism: when the apostle transforms his service into power, and his power into goods to obtain worldly profits or more power."
For the unabridged version of the list, check out the story from The Washington Post.