Pope Francis is only six months into his papacy, but the South American pope has already shown a strong determination to overhaul the defects undermining and striking at the core of the Holy See. In some of his strongest denunciations to date, Pope Francis called the narcissistic culture of the church a “leprosy,” reports NBC News on Oct. 1.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Pope Francis said the “leaders of the Church have often been Narcissuses, gratified and sickeningly excited by their courtiers. The court around the Pope is the leprosy of the papacy.”
The Pope’s words come as the church, for the first time in its history, revealed its monetary holdings. The Vatican bank, founded in 1942 and officially called the Institute for Works of Religion, showed its earning last year alone topped 86 million Euros ($116 million dollars) – more than four times higher than in 2011.
Pope Francis has made increased calls for transparency and accountability among the highest of church officials. The Vatican bank operates nearly 19,000 accounts, which have been slowly undergoing an audit by the Promontory Financial Group, a US-based regulatory compliance consulting firm.
Francis also admitted in the interview that he considered declining the election to serve as the 266th pope.
“My head was completely empty and a great anxiety came over me. To make it go away and relax I closed my eyes and every thought went away, even that of not accepting, which the liturgical procedures permitted,” Francis said.
Pope Francis said he will do everything in his power to fight the self-seeking viewpoint of the Catholic Church, saying the “Vatican-centric vision neglects the world that surrounds it. I do not share this vision and will do everything to change it,” Francis said.