At morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, Pope Francis returned to the theme of corruption in the Church and in society, saying those who commit this crime must beg for God’s forgiveness.
Echoing his message from Monday’s Mass, he reiterated that it is always the poor who pay the price for the corruption of others.
The liturgy of today continues with the story of King Ahab, who with the help of his wife Jezebel, had Naboth killed so as to be able to take possession of his land. In today’s passage, King Ahab repents after receiving a warning from the Prophet Elijah.
When we embark on the path of corruption, the Pope said, we lose our humanity and sell ourselves, just as the prophet Elijah tells Ahab, I have found you “because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the Lord’s sight.”
This is the definition of corruption, the Pope insisted, it’s a commodity that we buy and sell.
Recalling yesterday’s homily in which he identified three areas of corruption – in politics, in business and in the Church – he said all three hurt the poor who always pay the price for the other’s gain. To all of these people, the Pope noted, God says clearly that he will bring disaster on them and their families. Corruption, he said irritates God and scandalizes people because it exploits, enslaves, even kills the vulnerable, but those who commit this crime are only focused on money and power.
The corrupt, the Pope said, are traitors who steal and kill, who exploit the innocent, but they do it at a distance with gloves on so that they do not have to get their hands dirty.
These people, he said, are cursed by God, but just as Ahab tore his garments and fasted and humbled himself before the Lord, so the corrupt must repent and make amends for what they have done.
Our duty as Christians, the Pope concluded, is to ask forgiveness from God for these people we read about in the papers, to pray for their conversion of heart and for the grace that we may never become corrupt ourselves.