Yesterday Pope Francis spoke to priests, religious, seminarians, and permanent deacons in the cathedral in Bologna. He took a couple of spontaneous questions. Here's part of one his answers to a religious who asked about, among other things, the 'psychology of survival' that the Holy Father has mentioned before. Here's part of the Pope's reply:
"You see those religious who are attached to money as a security. This is the heart of the psychology of survival; I am surviving, I have security, because I have money. The problem is not so much in chastity or obedience, no, it is in poverty. Fish rot from the head and religious life begins to become corrupt from the lack of poverty.* This is truly how it is. St. Ignatius called poverty the ‘mother and wall’ of the religious life; ‘mother’ because she gives birth to the religious life, and ‘poverty’ because it is the defense against all worldliness. The psychology of survival makes you live in a worldly way, with worldly hopes, not to setting yourself on the path of divine hope, the hope that is of God. Money is very much the ruin of consecrated life. But God is so good, so good that, when an institute of consecrated life begins to make more and more money, the Lord is so good that he sends a wicked treasurer who makes everything collapse, and this is a grace! When the goods of a religious institute collapse, I say, ‘Thank you, Lord!’, because they will begin to walk the way of poverty and the true hope in the goods that the Lord gives: the true hope in that fecundity that journeying with the Lord gives. Please, I’m telling you, always, always make an examination of conscience on poverty: personal poverty, which is not just going to ask the permission of the superior to do something, but is deeper, it is an even deeper thing; and also the poverty of the institute, because this is the true survival of consecrated life, in the positive sense, that is to say that here is found the true hope that makes consecrated life grow."
*Il pesce incomincia a corrompersi dalla testa e la vita consacrata incomincia a corrompersi dalla mancanza di povertà.
Full text here.
The full reply of the part I quoted starts around :53.