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Monday, 29 December 2014

"How many people work in the Vatican?" "About half."

A friend, a cleric who died recently actually, and had worked in the Vatican for many years, told me that joke once, insisting that it was an actual conversation he had with Paul VI, (I've since learned that it's waaaaay older and told of everyone.)

In all the words spilled about the curia and the Pope recently, it's hard to know what's what.

But Fr Ray Blake has a pertinent post.

There are many people who work very hard, in mostly thankless situations, it would be surprising if there were not such people among those in the Curia.

already middle ranking clergy are leaving Rome, or begging their bishops to apply to the Holy Father for their release. Many have already left, to the point where some dicasteries are drastically undermanned, to the point of not working effectively. Things, like dispensation which took a couple of months to process, can now take well over a year.
Morale in Curia is at an all time low, it was never very high. There were certainly some priests, and bishops too, who would have given their eye-teeth for a job in the Curia, and seen it as way to promotion and power, or of pursuing and academic interest, of those I have known that is not the majority, certainly there is often a detachment from parish life, but that is the nature of the job, it happens with priests (and bishops) and especially laymen and women in diocesan Curias.....

A curial friend, who I think is quite saintly, once sent me his timetable, he lives in one of the clergy houses near St Peter's so unless there is Papal Mass or audience that day, that is where he says Mass. Like most of the younger clergy in the EF, 'it suits a contemplative life, and besides the boys prefer it, if one of them serves my Mass.' He means the Maltese minor seminarians who assist in the sacristy, and if you are fortunate will serve your Mass.

Rise 5am
Mass in St Peter's followed by thanksgiving 7am
Breakfast on the way to the office 8am
Start work 8.30am
Lunch 1pm but often that involves a meeting, often he works straight through, some (older) clergy take a siesta until 3.30
Return to Office at 4pm
Return home for Supper at 8pm
Read/study, very occasionally go out with friends
Prayer/spiritual reading 10pm
Bed 11pm

He does this 5 days a week, Saturday is the same except the office closes at 1pm

Sunday is day to catch up on sleep, and meet friends, occasionally pilgrims, if needed, he says Mass in Rome parish, he is not needed that often. He said once he had gone six months without saying Mass with a congregation. Apart from holy days he does this for 11 months of the year. Rome tends to close down for August and he returns to his home to stay with his family, and supply in his home diocese.
What struck me was the sheer boredom of his life, and the loneliness too. His salary I think is about 4500 euros a year, it is not enough to live well in Rome

I admit that there is a clerical blogger of whom I often think, when he's asking for hand-outs, hey! he seems to live a lot better than I do, he certainly eats, travels and indulges himself with technological gadgets at a level i can only dream of being able to afford.

But what do I really know of what he sacrifices to serve the Church?
Judge not, Scel...

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