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Pope warns against mediocrity, gossip, bureaucratic squabbling at Vatican in speech to Curia

Pope Francis has warned Vatican administrators that their work can take a downward spiral into mediocrity, gossip and bureaucratic squabbling if they forget that theirs is a professional vocation of service to the church.

Francis made the comments Saturday in his Christmas address to the Vatican Curia, the bureaucracy that forms the central government of the 1.2-billion strong Roman Catholic Church. The speech was eagerly anticipated given that Francis was elected on a mandate to overhaul the antiquated and oftentimes dysfunctional administration.

Just last week Francis reshuffled the powerful Congregation for Bishops, removing the arch-conservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke as well as the head of Italy's bishops' conference and another hardline Italian, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, earlier axed from the Congregation for Clergy.