> ANSA English > News

Francis says corrupt deserve to be 'thrown into the sea'

Stealing from State same as stealing from the poor, says pope

11 November, 14:49
Francis says corrupt deserve to be 'thrown into the sea' (ANSA) - Vatican City, November 11 - Those who give to the Church with one hand but steal from their country with the other deserve to be tied to a rock and thrown into the sea, Pope Francis said Monday.

In a homily during Mass at Santa Martha's House, the guesthouse inside the Vatican where the pope lives, he condemned Christians who are corrupt and steal from the state, depriving the poor.

Anyone who gives to the Church with one hand, but steals with the other hand from his country and from the poor, is unjust, said the pope who quoted from the gospel.

"And Jesus says: It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea," said the pope.

This is because such a person is deceitful, and "where there is deceit, the Spirit of God cannot be". The pope noted that Jesus never stopped forgiving sin - when the sinner was repentant.

However, Francis added, those who continue to sin and are false do not deserve forgiveness.

Corruption has been an important theme recently for Pope Francis, who last week strongly condemned corruption in society that allows the wealthy to become even more wealthy while the poor suffer more and more.

On Friday, he directed his indignation at graft and corruption in modern life, citing among other things the well-heeled whose criminal gains allow them to grant privileges to their children.

"Those who take kickbacks have lost their dignity and give their children dirty bread".

Francis said corruption was as "habit-forming" as a drug and said he would pray "that the Lord may change the hearts of those who worship the kickback god".