National Catholic Reporter

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Rome

Pope says Vatican shouldn't be 'bureaucratic customs house'

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In what amounts to his first “State of the Union” speech, Pope Francis warned Dec. 21 that without a spirit of service the Vatican risks becoming no more than a “heavy bureaucratic customs house,” and insisted that its personnel shouldn’t constantly be “inspecting and questioning.”

The pope did not roll out a specific reform plan, but laid out the basic values he believes curial personnel must have: professionalism and a dedication to service.

From Syria and Iraq to Ukraine, Francis hits home on 'ecumenism of blood'

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News about Pope Francis continues to flow at such a torrid pace that it's hard to digest one development before the next one hits. His Dec. 15 blockbuster interview with La Stampa is a case in point, with a shake-up at the Congregation for Bishops 24 hours later making it already seem ancient history.

Discussion a hallmark of meetings with pope

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One difference between Pope Francis and his predecessors: He doesn't give speeches. He talks.

At events in late November and early December, the pattern was the same: Meeting with a group, the pope sat among them, gave no prepared remarks, but conversed freely and at length.

Describing the experience of meeting Francis, Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga said that "to speak with the pope face to face is a spiritual experience."

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August 1-14, 2014

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