"It was necessary to speak of disease and cures because every surgical operation, if it is to be successful, must be preceded by detailed diagnosis and careful analysis, and needs to be accompanied and followed up by precise prescriptions."
The Pope's emphasis on conversion, then, is not so much a jab at the Curia, as some have made it out to be, as much as it is a jab at sin itself and how it manifests in the Church. If anything, his insistence on this point is evidence of just how crucial he sees conversion as being to the final, positive result of the reform.
Neither is it anything new. Pope Francis has spoken about the importance and necessity of conversion and attention to person holiness even from his time in Buenos Aires.
In the 2010 book "On Heaven and Earth," which is a conversation between Pope Francis and his good friend Abraham Skorka, a rabbi and scholar from Buenos Aires, the then-cardinal archbishop of the city spoke on a variety of topics, but the centrality of holiness in regards to the Church's mission was by far the most potent.
In the book, Bergoglio insisted that holiness is essential to leadership in religious organizations, saying it is "a springboard to the transcendent."
"With regards to religion, holiness is unavoidable for a leader," he said, and, touching on various periods of difficulty and corruption in the Church's history, noted that "religion bounced back" when figures such as newly-canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta appeared to "rejuvenate religious fervor."
Alejandro Bermudez, Executive Director of Catholic News Agency and the book's translator from Spanish to English, said in April 2013, just two months after Francis' election, that "it's impossible to understand anything this Pope is doing without understanding personal conversion."
He pointed specifically to "the very profound Jesuit tradition of the change of heart," which he said goes hand in hand with the Pope's idea of conversion.
Bermudez, who interviewed Francis a number of times while he was still in Buenos Aires, insisted that "only the changing of the heart will create a change in the Church, and a change in the Church is what will create a change in society and culture."
"For Pope Francis there is no way around that reality – that arises only from a converted heart."
So while the stern tone of the Pope's speeches might leave some feeling slighted and longing for a warmer approach, Francis seems to be indicating that sometimes tough love is needed more than a pat on the back.
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A look at the bigger picture with conversion as the frame shows that for Francis, who was elected with a mandate for reform, a thorough examination of conscious is needed as these reform efforts continue to roll steadily forward.
More than singling anyone out or taking a swing at his officials, the Pope seems to be inviting curial members to ask themselves whether they might be infected with any of the "diseases" he identified, to apply the right virtues if the answer is yes, and to move on.
After all, the Church ultimately isn't here to make us feel good, but to help us conform to Christ and draw nearer to him. The Pope's plan for reform, then, seems to be founded on and aimed at just that.