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Pope Francis addresses the Roman Curia Pope Francis addresses the Roman Curia   (Vatican Media) Editorial

Synodal conversion for the Curia along the path of humility

Pope Francis reminds his closest collaborators that the fragility and the poverty of the Child Jesus points to a style and to a mission: titles and roles count for nothing; a true witness of the Gospel is vulnerable and aware of the need for inner healing.

By Andrea Tornielli

At first glance it might almost seem paradoxical: even the Roman Curia, which by its very nature is — or should be — collegial, and which exists not as a power in its own right but as a service to the universal mission of the Bishop of Rome, needs a “synodal conversion.” It was Pope Francis who pointed out this path in his Christmas greetings to the Curia.

“Synodality,” he said, “is a ‘style’ to which we must be converted, especially those of us here present,” because the Curia, “is not merely a logistical and bureaucratic instrument for meeting the needs of the universal Church, but the first body called to bear witness.”

The Pope, as if prolonging the catechesis of the audience of Wednesday, 22 December, recalled that the whole mystery of Christmas that is now approaching is contained in one word: humility. It can only be understood if we are willing to strip ourselves of prerogatives, roles, titles, that is, if we give up believing we are “somebody,” always better than those who have gone before us. It can be understood if we give up dreams of expansionist apostolic plans, which indicate “what needs to be done” while losing touch with the “with the real lives and difficulties of our people.”

With Christian realism, the Bishop of Rome reminds us that when all our roles, titles, and robes are removed, we are all “lepers in need of healing.” Everyone, from the first to the last, despite the offices held. Only from this awareness, which is itself a precious gift of grace, can we look with new eyes at what the Pope suggests. Conversion to synodality will not be the just the latest bureaucratic task to be carried out from a sense of duty, but a new way of collaborating, of questioning oneself, of listening to others. This will allow the Spirit to breathe in and take us to places we have never even imagined, to strengthen communion, and to build relationships that go beyond mere work. More and more, walking on the path of humility and in a synodal style, the Curia will become a community — a community made up of sinners, of fragile men and women who do not hide behind titles or roles, but who are aware that they are all, from first to last, in need of forgiveness, salvation, and healing.

23 December 2021, 10:14