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Pope denounces ‘rigidity’ as he warns of Christian decline

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 21, 2019

A Vatican Swiss Guard stands on attention as Pope Francis arrives to deliver his message on the occasion of his Christmas greetings to Vatican employees, in the Pope Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. (Andrew Medichini / AP)
A Vatican Swiss Guard stands on attention as Pope Francis arrives to deliver his message on the occasion of his Christmas greetings to Vatican employees, in the Pope Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. (Andrew Medichini / AP)
By Nicole Winfield Associated Press

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis warned Saturday “rigidity” in living out the Christian faith is creating a “minefield” of hatred and misunderstanding in a world where Christianity is increasingly irrelevant.

Francis called for Vatican bureaucrats instead to embrace change during his annual Christmas greetings to the cardinals, bishops and priests who work in the Holy See.

Francis’ message appeared aimed at conservative and traditionalist Catholics, including within the Vatican Curia, who have voiced increasing opposition to his progressive-minded papacy. Their criticisms have accelerated over the past year.

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