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Pope Francis delivers Christmas message to clergy on humility

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Pope Francis delivers Christmas message to clergy on humility
Pope Francis during the audience with the cardinals and superiors of the Roman Curia for the presentation of Christmas greetings. Photo by Vatican Media/EPA-EFE

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Pope Francis on Thursday urged clergy members to embrace humility this Christmas season rather than letting pride and "self-interest" get in the way.

Officials of the Roman Curia met with the pontiff for the annual exchange of Christmas greetings where he reflected on the identity and mission of the Church's central governing body.

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He told Vatican cardinals, bishops and bureaucrats that the "glitter of our armor" perverted their spiritual lives and corrupted the church's mission.

Pope Francis asked them to face their moral and personal failings and denounced those who hide behind Catholic Church traditions rather than seek out the neediest with humility.

He said that humility is the "great condition for faith."

Since taking his position in 2013, the pope enforced a 10% pay cut for cardinals, imposed a $45 gift cap for Holy See personnel and passed a law for clergy members to be criminally prosecuted by the Vatican's tribunal.

"Once we strip ourselves of our robes, prerogatives, positions and titles, all of us are lepers in need of healing," he said according to Vatican News. "Christmas is the living reminder of this realization."

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