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.
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)