VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has lamented the "evil, suffering and corruption" that has defaced God's creation in a final address to the officials who run the Vatican bureaucracy.
Benedict spoke off-the-cuff Saturday at the end of a weeklong spiritual retreat coinciding with the Catholic Church's solemn Lenten season. For the past week, Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi has led the Vatican on meditations that have covered everything from the family to denouncing the "divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies" that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy.
Ravasi's blunt critique of the dysfunction within the Vatican Curia, exposed by the leaked document scandal, comes as cardinals from around the world are arriving for the final days of Benedict's papacy and the conclave to elect his successor. Bureaucratic reform is a major priority for the next pope.