This post first appeared on 10th May, 2016 under the Title "PHYSICIAN HEAL THY BRETHREN.....OR?


It is the popular wisdom that the address given by the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio S.J. to the General Congregation of Cardinals preparing for the Conclave, secured him the majority vote of the Cardinal Electors.

The feature that is said to have endeared him to their Eminences was the call for reform of the Curia.

As it happened, this call was made against the background of the so-called Vatileaks scandal, which involved the theft and publication of documents by Pope Benedict XVI's Valet. There were rumours - always delightfully vague and suggesting scandal, that behind the whole affair one would find dissension in the Curia.

Now, human nature being what it is, and the Curia being the equivalent of the Head Office bureaucracy in any civil organisation, it is hardly surprising that the Curia should be unpopular. Indeed, it seems a fact of Church life that it has always been unpopular.

Consider every Diocese in the World : the view of the Bishop is often that the last time the Curia got anything right was the decision to appoint him. Subsequently, his requests for this or that have been too slowly processed, or declined for some reason he won't accept; or his Diocesan liturgical problems have come to notice, and he gets a query ; or his pet project to sell a property worth millions has to obtain the consent of the Holy See, and questions asked of him are unwelcome. Etc . etc. 

Have you ever heard of anyone who loves Head Office in any organisation?

After more than 50 years working in several very large oganisations, including one international organisation, I certainly have never encountered a Head Office lover! ( Except of course for the Executives of Head Office!) So I am not overly-fussed by Bishops and Cardinals being upset by the Curia. I would be suspicious if they were enamoured of it.

But a good friend made a good point to me this morning :

If one already belonged to a very large organisation which was an operating disaster in terms of its mission and founding purpose, in fact a scandal round the world - wouldn't people witnessing one's ascension to supreme control of the bigger  organisation it belongs to and serves, be entitled to want one to effect its reform before launching into the reform of the Head Office of the overall organisation ?

                                      Saint Ignatius of Loyola Founder of the Jesuits

Putting it more directly my friend asked: " well, now that we have a Jesuit Pope, and seeing that the Jesuits are supposed to be totally loyal to the person and office of the Pope, shouldn't he hop into reforming them first, before worrying about less glaring scandals?"

I had to admit that he had a point.Why didn't I think of that?

Two years have passed, I would be really pleased if anyone could point to the action taken to reform the Jesuits in that time. Anyone ? Anyone?  No? I wonder why?


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