Europe

Pope denounces resistance to reform in Christmas greeting

  • Pope Francis is framed between heads of prelates on the occasion of his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia in the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

    Pope Francis is framed between heads of prelates on the occasion of his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia in the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Prelates wait in a corridor to enter the Clementine Hall on the occasion of Pope Francis' Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

    Prelates wait in a corridor to enter the Clementine Hall on the occasion of Pope Francis' Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis delivers his message to prelates on the occasion of his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia in the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

    Pope Francis delivers his message to prelates on the occasion of his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia in the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has denounced the resistance he is encountering in reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, saying some of it is inspired by the devil and that the prelates who work for him must undergo a process of "permanent purification" to serve him and the Catholic Church better.

For the third year in a row, Francis took the Vatican bureaucracy to task in his annual Christmas greeting. He said his reform process isn't aimed at a superficial face-lift, but rather a profound change in mentality among his collaborators.

He said Thursday: "Dear brothers, it's not the wrinkles in the church that you should fear, but the stains!"

In 2014, Francis denounced the 15 "spiritual ailments" Vatican bureaucrats suffered. Last year he listed the "catalogue of virtues" they should show.