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Employees divided on what it's like to work for the pope

Long term Vatican careerists are less than enamoured

David Gibson for Religion News Service

David Gibson for Religion News Service

Published: March 13, 2014 06:26 AM GMT

Updated: March 12, 2014 07:37 PM GMT

Employees divided on what it's like to work for the pope

Pixcture: Religion News Service

So what’s it like to come to work every day when your boss is the pope?

At the one-year mark of Pope Francis’ election, the answer probably depends on whether you are an old-timer or a relative newcomer, and whether you agree with his reforms of the Vatican bureaucracy or you pine for the old ways of the papal court.

Much also depends on whether you are one of the approximately 3,500 (mostly Italian) lay people in the Vatican’s workforce or one of the 1,100 or so cardinals, bishops, priests or religious brothers and sisters who tend to occupy decision-making positions and are deeply invested in the policies that Francis adopts.

That second group, often defined by their ideologies and rivalries, tends to draw the most attention, given the high stakes and fierce passions involved.

“I have even heard people say ‘We are praying for him (Francis) to die as soon as possible,’” Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, head of Francis’ hand-picked advisory group of eight cardinals, told a German Catholic news agency recently.

“That is wicked — but such people think they are Christians.”

No wonder the pope has spent so much of his first year in office warning cardinals and bureaucrats against indulging in the kind of court intrigues, gossip and favoritism that helped push his predecessor, Benedict XVI, to resign.

In his Ash Wednesday homily, in fact, Francis at one point looked up from his text on penance and stared at the Vatican churchmen arrayed around him. “When I watch, in this little everyday environment, various power struggles for position, I think to myself: These people are trying to play God, the Creator,” the pope said. “They still haven’t realized that they are not God.”

Full Story: What’s it like to have Pope Francis as your boss? Depends where you work

Source:Religion News Service

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