By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Thursday exchanged Christmas greetings with Vatican employees thanking them for the work they do. “Work is the first word that I tell you, not to tell you to work more, but to tell you ‘Thank you!,” he told employees and their families gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall.
Speaking off-the-cuff in Italian during the tradtional Christmas gathering, he said, “I don’t want irregular labour in the Vatican.” A trial period of a year or two is OK, he said, but nothing more.
The Pope said it is a “problem of conscience because we cannot preach the social doctrine of the Church and then have situations of irregular labour.” He then urged employees to help him find a solution to the problem.
The Holy Father, who turned 81 on Sunday, also urged his employees to safeguard families. He said that he also suffers with families and marriages in crisis, in which the victims are mostly children. He particularly advised parents not to quarrel in front of their children
Gossip and forgiveness
Pope Francis also urged Vatican employees to avoid gossip and slander.
If we have given a bad example, we must ask forgiveness, he said, admitting that even the clergy don’t always give good example.
“In life, there are mistakes that we clerics make, with our sins, injustice or sometimes ill-treatment of persons…. We beg pardon for these bad examples,” he said.
Christmas is a good time to be at peace with ourselves by making a good confession because we are all sinners, he said.
Pope Francis closed the gathering by wishing all a “Merry Christmas”.