VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis has issued a blistering critique of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him. He has denounced how some lust for power at the expense of others, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from "spiritual Alzheimer's" that has made them forget they're supposed to be joyful men of God.

Francis' Christmas greeting Monday to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was less a joyful exchange of holiday good wishes than a sobering catalog of what Francis called the "ailments of the Curia" that he hoped would be atoned for and cure

Pope Francis prays before a statue of the Virgin Mary, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception feast, in Rome Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Francis has not shied from complaining about the gossiping, careerism and power intrigues that afflict the Vatican. But as his reform agenda gathers steam, he seems even more emboldened to highlight what ails the institution.

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