VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Careerism and a drive to seek power in the church are sins as old as the church itself, Pope Francis told a group of employees from Vatican Radio and from the Vatican’s office for pilgrims and tourists.

Commenting on the day’s Gospel passage — Mark 9:30-37 — the pope said that while Jesus is talking about his upcoming passion and death, the disciples are arguing over who is the greatest among them.

“The struggle for power in the church isn’t something recent,” Pope Francis said in his homily at the Mass May 21 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.


Such struggles “should not exist,” because Jesus’ whole life and death teach his followers that greatness is measured by humility and service.

“He lowered himself to the point of death, death on a cross, for us, to serve us, to save us,” the pope said. “In the church, there is no other path for moving forward.”

However, he said, Christians live in the world and easily pick up the world’s way of thinking and speaking. “When someone is given a task that in the eyes of the world is a superior task, one says, ‘Oh, this woman was promoted to president of that association and this man was promoted to that.'”

The pope said a promotion isn’t a bad thing, but in the church it should mean something different than it does in the world of business: “Yes, ‘this person was promoted to the Cross; that person was promoted to humiliation.’ That is the true promotion, the promotion which makes us more like Jesus.”

“The path of the Lord is his service,” Pope Francis said. Christ’s disciples are called to follow him by following his example of service. “That is real power in the church.”