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Battling flu, Pope calls for ‘openness, humility, accountability’ from Curia

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(CNN) — Pope Francis, sick with flu, addressed the Curia on Monday at the Vatican in his annual Christmas address to the group, promising to continue reform efforts with “clarity and firm resolve.”

Excusing himself at the beginning of the address, Pope Francis said he has had the flu for several days, and didn’t “feel very strong” and so would give the talk sitting down, rather than standing up as is customary.

This year’s was watched closely because of the Pope’s scathing reprimand of the Curia last year. The Curia is made up of nearly 50 Vatican offices which govern the Catholic Church from Rome, including the Secretariat of State, and offices for doctrine, economy, and nominating bishops.

In his 2014 address, Pope Francis outlined a series of “curial diseases” such as careerism, gossiping, hoarding, leading a double life, and being “glum and dour.”

“Some of these diseases became evident in the course of the past year, causing no small pain,” Pope Francis said Monday, likely referring to various financial and administrative scandals involving the Vatican that came to light in the past year.

In a speech to Vatican employees immediately following his speech to the Curia, Pope Francis asked forgiveness for those scandals.

To the Curia, this year, the Pope focused on virtues rather than vices, outlining a “catalog of needed virtues” for those who work in the Curia, including openness, humility, accountability and sobriety.

His 12-point list was based on an acrostic play on the word Misericordia; each entry used the first letter of the Latin word for mercy, the theme of Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year.

Pope Francis confirmed that despite resistance and difficulties, his efforts at reform of the Curia will not be curtailed.

“The reform will move forward with determination, clarity and firm resolve,” he said.

“Cases of resistance, difficulties and failures on the part of individuals and ministers are so many lessons and opportunities for growth,” the Pope said.

In contrast to last year’s speech, Pope Francis this year recognized, “all those good and honest men and women in the Curia who work with dedication, devotion, fidelity and professionalism.”

Part of Pope Francis’ program for reform includes streamlining the bureaucracy of the Curia and de-centralizing its decision-making power, to allow local bishops more control over how the Catholic Church operates in various countries.