Pope Francis speaks as he meets participants in the Charis International conference, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, June 8, 2019.
Pope Francis speaks as he meets participants in the Charis International conference, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, June 8, 2019.

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has demanded obedience from Vatican ambassadors and reminded them of their duties before him, God and the faithful after years of scandal have tarnished the reputation of the Holy See's diplomatic corps.

Francis told envoys they may have reservations about papal policy but they don't represent themselves and can't “criticize the pope behind his back, have blogs or join groups hostile to him.”

The unusual dressing down came in a speech that was handed out but not spoken on Thursday. It followed several sex scandals among Vatican envoys and explosive claims by the former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. that Francis ignored his 2013 warnings about a cardinal's sexual encounters with seminarians.

Francis defrocked ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in February and has said he doesn't remember receiving a warning.