(AGI) Vatican City, Dec. 22 - Pope Francis condemned thepractices of the Curia on Monday. He defined the Curia asclosed circles, in which belonging to the group becomes moreimportant than belonging to the Body of Christ, which is theChurch. He defined it as a "cancer which threatens the harmonyof the body and causes a lot of evil and scandal". He alsorecalled that the greatest danger is that of self-destructionor friendly fire. The Roman Curia, he said, was "cold-bloodedlykilling the reputation of their own colleagues andbrothers...To achieve that, they may defame, slander anddiscredit others, even on newspapers and magazines. Naturally,that is in order to show off and exhibit their superiority toothers". He warned the cardinals and bishops gathered in theSala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace to: "Watch out againstthe terrorism of gossip!". It is the disease of those who'court their superiors', becoming victims of 'careerism andopportunism'. The Curia, he continued, is called upon tocontinuously improve itself and grow in communion, sanctity andknowledge in order to completely fulfill its mission and, asany other body, it is also exposed to disease, dysfunctions andillnesses. He went on to explain that he wanted to list some of"these probable diseases which, following the Fathers of thedesert, will aid us in preparing for confession....and forChristmas". They are diseases that weaken our service to theLord, he said. Pope Francis described spiritual Alzheimer'sdisease as forgetting the story of Salvation, the personalstory with the Lord, the first love. Another disease is feelingimmortal or essential: "A curia that does not practiceself-criticism, does not keep up to date, does not try tobetter itself, is an infirm Body". Another ailment is thedisease of excessive activity. It is the disease of those who,like Martha in the Gospel, "lose themselves in their work,inevitably neglecting what is better: sitting at Jesus' feet".The Pope recalled that Jesus "called on his disciples to 'resta little', because neglecting necessary rest brings anxiety andstress". Pope Francis denounced the disease of mental andspiritual 'petrification'. It is the disease of those who "losetheir internal peace, their vivacity and audacity, to hideunder papers and become procedural machines instead of men ofGod, unable to weep with those who weep and rejoice with thosewho rejoice!". The next disease is overplanning: "When theapostle plans everything in detail and believes that thingsprogress effectively, thus becoming an accountant. Goodplanning is necessary but without falling into the temptationof wanting to enclose or steer the freedom of the HolySpirit... it is always easier and more convenient to fall backon static and unchanged positions". The Curia also suffers fromthe disease of bad coordination. It is the malady of memberswho "lose the community among them, and the Body loses itsharmonious functionality becoming an orchestra producingundisciplined noise because its members do not cooperate and donot live communally and have team spirit". The followingdisease is that of hoarding, which the Pope described asfollows: "When the apostle seeks to fill an existential void inhis heart by hoarding material possessions, not because ofnecessity, but only to feel secure". Then, there is thedisorder of worldly profit and exhibitionism: "When the apostleturns his service into power, and his power into a commodity togain worldly profits, or even more powers. It is the disease ofthose people who relentlessly seek to increase their powers".(AGI) . .