Pope Francis warns against easy slide into corruption

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Pope Francis delivers a speech during the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, on July 25, 2013. Pope Francis is on the fourth day of his week-long visit for World Youth Day.  Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-INDULGENCES, originally transmitted on Jan. 15, 2015.

Pope Francis delivers a speech during the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, on July 25, 2013. Pope Francis is on the fourth day of his week-long visit for World Youth Day. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-INDULGENCES, originally transmitted on Jan. 15, 2015.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis has warned Catholics of descending from sin into corruption, a theme often cited by the reformist pontiff as he tries to overhaul the Vatican.

“There is a moment,” the pope said Friday (Jan. 29), “where our situation is so secure … and we have so much power” that sin becomes “corruption.”

In those situations, the corrupt feel immune from the consequences of their actions and feel they have no need for forgiveness, said the pontiff.

“Corruption is a very easy sin for all of us who have some power, whether it be ecclesiastical, religious, economic, political … because the devil makes us feel certain: ‘I can do it,’” the pope said.

Earlier this month, Francis launched a scathing attack on the practice of corruption.

“He is the one who goes to Mass every Sunday but has no problem using his powerful position to demand kickbacks. … The corrupt man often doesn’t realize his own condition, much as a person with bad breath does not know they have it,” Francis told journalist Andrea Tornielli, in comments published in the book “The Name of God Is Mercy.”

The lengths the pope has gone to to expose shady dealings at the Vatican became clear in November, with the publication of two books detailing the workings of a committee established to advise the pope on reforming the Holy See.

Leaked documents published by the Italian authors pointed to a string of questionable activities within the Vatican walls, including lucrative contracts awarded without open bids, luxury apartments secured for little or no rent and the disappearance of vast amounts of supplies from Vatican stores.


RELATED STORY: Books detail behind-the-scenes battle to reform Vatican finances


But Francis’ fight against corruption extends beyond the walls of the city-state. On his most recent foreign tour, the pope told young people in Kenya to avoid the destructive “sugar” of corruption.

“Corruption is something that gets inside us. It’s like sugar, we like it, it’s easy and then we end badly,” he said. “We come to an awful end.”

(Rosie Scammell covers the Vatican for RNS)

  • Ben in oakland

    Two words: Vatican Bank.

    Two more words: Alexander VI

    Three words: Child molestation cover-ups.

    And my favorite: Bank of the Holy spirit.

  • Chris Cakes

    And let us not forget they have a telescope named Lucifer. I can see through your agenda, RCC.

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  • patrick

    In addition to Alexander Vl, let us not forget (among scores of others) John Xll

    ” …. he (John Xll) had fornicated with the widow of Rainier, with Stephana his father’s concubine, with the widow Anna, and with his own niece, and he made the sacred palace into a whorehouse. ”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_XII

    and Benedict lX….

    “‘ Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to (Benedict lX) “his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts of violence and sodomy. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.”[9] “‘

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_IX

  • Betty Clermont

    How about the convenient death of Archbishop Wesolowski on the eve on his July 2015 trial? Now that the defense has called a couple of prelates handling this pope’s “charities,” the trial of the authors revealing corruption in this pontificate will not be resumed.

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  • Catholic and loving it

    ..Thank you Holy Father for again speaking out about the truth.. Corruption is rampant in our world that’s for sure and no one is beyond fault…Thats our human condition and why we need our Redeemer Jesus Christ to save us from our sins… Be merciful O Lord for we have sinned…+++Amen

  • Billysees

    Good comment.

  • Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Corruption is contagious. We need to be vigilant. Dialogue, discernment and examination of conscience – wonderful tools to battle corruption.