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Pope tells Vatican to appoint lay women and men to Curia

The pope has called for more people from outside the clergy to work in the upper echelons of the Church. He also hit back at the "malevolent" internal resistance to reform the Vatican bureaucracy.

On Thursday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church called on the Curia, the Roman Catholic Church's central bureaucracy, to become more inclusive.

"The development of the role of women and lay people in the Church and their appointment to leading roles in the dicasteries, with particular attention to multiculturalism, is furthermore of great importance," said Francis during his address.

Francis laid out 12 principles Thursday that he wanted to see, one of which was making Catholicism "all embracing." Francis called for an end to promoting unqualified or problematic staff to a higher office, calling it "cancer."

The pontiff expressed dissatisfaction with resistance to his proposed reforms to the Catholic Church that he laid out in 2013. He said the resistance from Curia members hampered his reforms so much, that the reforms were seen as a "facelift…to embellish the aging body of the Curia, or as plastic surgery to remove its wrinkles." Francis warned that Curia members should not fear "wrinkles" in the church, but its "stains."

Francis has made similar statements during previous addresses to the Curia during his time as pope. In 2014, he accused the Curia of suffering from "spiritual Alzheimer's," and listed 12 guidelines for reform and being open to "the signs of the times." Francis told the Curia in 2015 of a "catalogue of virtues" that the church was supposed to show, including honesty, sobriety and humility.

The Argentinian pontiff's calls for a more tolerant, open and pragmatic Church have improved the reputation of Catholics worldwide. While progressives have championed the shift in tone, his proposals - for example, calling for tolerance of homosexaulity and recognizing lifestyle choices that do not align with church teachings, such as cohabitation and remarriage after divorce - have angered conservatives. 

Francis has also made waves by condoning the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS, a policy that violates the Church's rejection of all forms of contraception. 

kbd/kms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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