(CNSNews.com) - Speaking at a meeting with young people at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday, Pope Francis addressed a question he had been asked about corruption.
In his response he said: “There is corruption not just in politics but in every institution, even in the Vatican. Corruption is something which creeps in. It's like sugar: it’s sweet, we like it, it’s goes down easily. And then? We get sick! We come to a nasty end! With all that easy sugar we end up as diabetics, and our country becomes diabetic!”
The transcript of the pope’s full address can be read at the Vatican website. Here is the segment of his speech which focused on corruption:
Another question that Linette asked was about corruption. Deep down, she was asking me: “Can corruption be justified simply because everyone is involved in wrongdoing, everyone is corrupt? How can we be Christians and fight the evil of corruption?”
I remember, in my own country, a young person, about twenty years old, who wanted to get involved in politics. He studied, he was enthusiastic, he went from place to place, and he got a job in a government office. One day he had to make a decision about purchasing something. He had three estimates, so he reviewed them and he chose the best one. Then he went to his boss to have it approved. “Why did you choose this one?” “Because it was best for the country’s finances”. “No, no, you have to choose the one which will put more money in your pocket!” This young person told his boss: “I got into politics to help my country!”, and the boss’s answer was: “I got into politics to steal!” This is just one example. There is corruption not just in politics but in every institution, even in the Vatican. Corruption is something which creeps in. It's like sugar: it’s sweet, we like it, it’s goes down easily. And then? We get sick! We come to a nasty end! With all that easy sugar we end up as diabetics, and our country becomes diabetic!
Whenever we take a bribe, or pocket a kickback, we destroy our heart, we destroy our personality, we destroy our country. Please, don’t get used to the taste of this “sugar” which is corruption. “But Father, I see corruption everywhere, I see so many people selling themselves for a handful of money without any concern for the lives of others…” As in everything, you have to make a start. If in your heart you don’t like corruption, if you do not want corruption in your life in your country, then start now! If you don’t start, your neighbour won’t start either. Corruption also steals our joy. It robs us of peace. A corrupt person is not at peace.
Once in my city – this is a true story – a man died. Everybody knew he was a big crook. A few days later, I asked what the funeral was like. One lady who had a good sense of humour told me: “Father, they couldn’t even close the coffin, because he tried to bring with him all the money he had stolen!” Whatever you steal by corruption will stay behind and somebody else will use it. But it will also stay behind – and we need to keep this in mind – in the hearts of all those men and women who were hurt by your example of corruption. It will stay behind in all the good you could have done but never did. It will stay behind in the children who are sick or hungry because the money that was meant for them was used for your own enjoyment, because you were corrupt. Dear young people, corruption is not the way to life. It is a path which leads to death.