Pope Francis was a little under the weather, so before beginning his speech to the Roman Curia, he asked if he could stay seated.
"I ask you to forgive me for not standing while I speak, but I've had the flu for a few days.”
But rather than being concerned with his own flu, the Pope focused on the "diseases” that weaken the Roman Curia.
"Some of these diseases became evident in the course of the past year, causing no small pain to the entire body and harming many souls, also with scandal.”
He added that these diseases do not cancel out the good work that most of their colleagues do. Indeed, he said that the ups and downs of working in the Vatican can teach everyone a lesson.
With that in mind, the Pope proposed 12 medicines for the Roman Curia. Among them are gentleness, alertness, sobriety, honesty, and humility.
"Once we find it hard to weep seriously or to laugh heartily, we have begun our decline and the process of turning from 'humans' into something else. Humanity is knowing how to show tenderness and fidelity and courtesy to all.”
The Pope's Christmas speech is instructive for the Roman Curia. For the past three years, the Pope has used it to change and define the way that the Curia must work in the future.
His aim is to humanize the bureaucratic work the Curia does and encourage them to remember that there are people behind their decisions. It's a message for his colleagues, but the words ring true beyond the Vatican walls.