Pope Francis has warned that being corrupt is even more evil than being sinful.
Addressing delegates from the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP) this morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father said, “Corruption is a process of death … more evil than sin. An evil that, instead of being forgiven, must be cured.”
“Caution in the application of penal codes,” Francis stressed, “must be the overarching principle of legal systems.”
Also, he highlighted that “respect for human dignity must not only act to limit the arbitrariness and excesses of government agents,” but must also serve as the “guiding criterion” for prosecuting and punishing behaviors that represent the most serious attacks on the dignity and integrity of the human person.
While saying that the scandalous accumulation of global wealth is possible because of the connivance of those with strong powers who are responsible for public affairs, the Pope stressed the need for effective legal and political methods to counter abuses.
<p>Such methods, he continued, cannot to be characterized by the mythological “scapegoat” logic, he said, referring to when an individual is “unjustly accused of the misfortunes that befall a community and then chosen to be sacrificed.”
Moreover, he called for implementation of inclusive economic and social policies.
Drawing attention to the primacy of the life and dignity of the human person, the Pope reaffirmed the condemnation of the death penalty, “the use of which,” he said, “is rejected by Christians.”
The Pontiff underscored that the death penalty is used in totalitarian regimes as “an instrument of suppression of political dissent or of persecution of religious or cultural minorities”.
On the conditions of prisoners, including prisoners who have not been convicted and those convicted without a trial, he stated that pretrial detention, when used improperly, is another modern form of unlawful punishment “that is hidden behind legality.”
He also criticized the deplorable prison conditions which exist all over the world.
Turning to torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment, he said that in today’s world such treatments are not only used not only as a means to achieve a particular, security-related purpose, but rather are often exploited.
Criminal code itself, the Pope noted, bears responsibility for having allowed, at times, the legitimacy of torture under certain conditions to open the way for further abuse.
In addition, Francis did not forget the application of criminal sanctions against children and the elderly. He condemned such sanctions’ use in both cases.
Human trafficking and slavery, Pope Francis also underscored, are damaging to the human person and their dignity, which are recognized both as “crimes against humanity” as well as “war crimes in both international law and under many nations’ laws.”
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