Pope Francis Urges Vatican to Stop Gossiping, Exercise Professionalism

The Holy See advocates mercy over moralism

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Luca Zennaro / pool / AFP / Getty Images

Pope Francis adresses to journalists aboard the papal flight, on the way back to Italy from Brazil, on July 28, 2013.

Pope Francis urged Vatican officials Saturday to remember to practice professionalism and competence to evade the trappings of mediocrity and bureaucracy that have long mired the Catholic Church.

Francis made the remarks at a Christmas address to the Vatican Curia, the administrative governing body of the Catholic Church, the Associated Press reports.

The Holy See also emphasized that Church officials should act as “conscientious objectors” to gossip, calling the practice harmful to their work, and pushed for a church focused on mercy over moralizing.

Named TIME‘s Person of the Year, Pope Francis has spent his first year pushing reforms for the often antiquated Vatican system. He has already begun to shake up the Congregation for Bishops by removing a U.S. cardinal who was a flashpoint over the abortion and gay marriage wars, and other conservative figureheads. He will soon name his first set of cardinals and oversee recommendations for reforming the bureaucracy that riddles the church.