ON Monday and Tuesday, at morning Masses in the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke against corruption, reiterating his message against corrupt people in power which he first gave at a morning Mass last March attended by 500 government officials and incumbent and former lawmakers.
Pope Francis made his March 27 remarks at an early morning Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, some hours before US President Barack Obama paid him a courtesy call at the Vatican.
As if he were addressing Filipino officials and members of our Congress, Pope Francis in March warned the government officials against abandoning the path of God’s love and liberating salvation for the dead-end road of self-righteous corruption.
The Pope used the readings to point to “The ruling class—the doctors of the law, the Sadducees, the Pharisees”—who “were closed up in their ideas, in their ministry, in their ideology.” These leaders refused to heed the Word of God, he said, and even justified their rejection of Jesus by claiming that he was “a prince of demons.”
Some political leaders in our country have virtually been saying the same thing about the Church and the Catholic Bishops who berate their anti-God, anti-Church anti-people actions and positions.
The Pope said those bad leaders during the time of Jesus, just like today’s corrupt leaders, “not only shut themselves off from God” but also “distanced themselves from the people they were meant to lead and care for.” He recalled that Jesus called them hypocrites.
Corruption always hurts the poor
In last Monday and Tuesday’s morning Masses, he said those who commit the crime of corruption “must beg for God’s forgiveness” because their victims make people suffer–and it is always the poor who suffer more and pay the price for the corruption of the leaders.
The Pope said, “When we embark on the path of corruption, 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.”
On Monday, he said corruption in politics, in business and even in the Church “hurts the poor who always pay the price for the gain of the corrupt others.” Pope Francis noted that to the corrupt, God has clearly said that He will bring disaster on them and their families.
He said, corruption vexes God and scandalizes people because it exploits, enslaves, even kills the vulnerable while those who commit this crime are focused solely on money and power.
The Pope said “The corrupt 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.”
God curses these people, but he said they can, just as Ahab did, repent. Ahab tore his garments and fasted and humbled himself before the Lord. The corrupt must repent and make amends for what they have done.
The Pope concluded by reminding the faithful that our duty as Christians is to ask forgiveness from God for those “people we read about in the papers” and “pray for their conversion of heart and for the grace that we may never become corrupt ourselves.”
Today is the 1st day of Ramadan
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan starts today. To our Muslim fellow Filipinos, Ramadan is the month of fasting and abstinence.
Some scholars, including Muslim ones, have seen the origin of Ramadan and its fasting and abstinence theme in the strict Lenten discipline of the Christians in Syria. Lent is the Christian season of fasting, abstinence and penance in unity with the imminent passion of the Lord Jesus Christ. To Muslims Jesus is a prophet who, as Orthodox and Roman Catholics believe, was born to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, whom the Muslims revere.