Pope Francis has criticized a personality cult around the founders of spiritual communities in the Catholic Church.
Even in the church, there is a "great temptation" for leading laymen to think they are irreplaceable and "to slide step by step into authoritarianism and personalism," the pope said Friday evening in Rome.
According to Francis, only the Holy Spirit is irreplaceable in the Church, and the "only Lord" is Jesus. "For all ministries, even in the Church, it is good if they are temporary," the Pope stressed at a meeting with 40.000 members of the charismatic movement "Renewal in the Holy Spirit.
Leadership for life
Many lay spiritual movements are led by their founders until their death at an advanced age. The Italian Chiara Lubich, for example, presided over the Focolare movement she founded in 1943 until her death in 2008 at the age of 88.
The three founders of the Neocatechumenal Way, another spiritual movement, have also reserved their leadership for life. The best known of the three is Spanish artist Kiko Arguello.