Pope Francis orders his ambassadors to toe the line by banning them from blogging about him or criticizing his policies
- More than 100 ambassadors or ‘nuncios’ were handed orders from the Pope
- Francis ordered the ambassadors to stop blogging and criticizing his policies
- It comes as the Church deals with fallout from sex scandals across the globe
Pope Francis ordered his ambassadors to toe the line on Thursday by telling them not to blog about him or openly criticize his policies.
In a document handed to more than 100 ambassadors in Rome for meetings with top Vatican officials, Francis told the envoys that they had to ‘live for the things of God and not for those of the world’.
Francis told envoys they may have reservations about papal policy but they don’t represent themselves and can’t ‘criticize the pope behind his back, have blogs or join groups hostile to him.’
Pope Francis sent a document to more than 100 ambassadors in Rome telling them to obey strict new rules
The Vatican is a sovereign state as well as the headquarters of the 1.3-billion-member Roman Catholic Church, and it has diplomatic relations with more than 180 countries.
Its ambassadors, known as nuncios, are often the highest ranking and most visible diplomats in a given country.
As the Church under Francis has become more polarised, some nuncios have taken to social media to criticise directly some of the pope’s decisions or draw attention to criticism by conservative groups.
In recent years, some nuncios or other Vatican diplomats have also been mired in scandal.
The nuncio in France, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, is under investigation in Paris over accusations of sexual molestation.
In 2013, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the ambassador in the Dominican Republic, was charged with paying boys for sex. He was recalled, kept in detention in the Vatican and dismissed from the priesthood, but died in 2015 before his trial.
Last year, a Vatican court sentenced an Italian priest, Carlo Alberto Capella, to five years in jail for possessing child pornography while he was a diplomat in Washington.
Pope Francis greeting a number of high ranking Vatican officials from Indonesia in Rome this week
‘A man of God does not deceive or defraud others, does not give in to gossip or bad-mouthing others. He conserves a pure mind and heart, not allowing his eyes and ears to be contaminated by the filth of the world,’ the pope said.
Nuncios who ‘go off the rails damage even the Church,’ he told them.
Some Vatican ambassadors have also come under fire for lavish lifestyles.
‘It is ugly to see a nuncio looking for luxury, for designer clothes, in the midst of people who are deprived of life’s necessities,’ Francis said.
He instructed them to reject gifts by the powerful who wanted to influence them, and to spend time with the poor and others on the margins of society.