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Church 'shamed' when people stray from God, says pope

Francis says scandals occur when people ignore word of the Lord

16 January, 12:23
Church 'shamed' when people stray from God, says pope (ANSA) - Vatican City, January 16 - Scandals that have "shamed" the Catholic Church often occurred when people did not listen to the word of God, Pope Francis said Thursday.

Speaking during Mass in St. Martha House, the Vatican guesthouse where the pope lives, Francis said that when a person's "heart is closed to the word of God," terrible things can happen. His comments came the same day that the Vatican was being publicly confronted for the first time over allegation of sexual abuse of children by clergy, before a United Nations hearing in Geneva. Pope Francis announced last month that a Vatican committee would be established to deal with sexual abuse of children in the Church and help to victims.

During his homily, Francis referred to financial scandals that have involved "a lot of money" as well as misbehavior by priests, bishops and lay members of the Church.

"The word of God was rare in those scandals...they did not have a relationship with God," he said of those who misbehaved.

"They had a position in the Church, a position of power, also of comfort. But the word of God - no," said Francis.

He reminded followers to "never forget the word of God, which is alive, it enters our hearts".

Just one day earlier, the pope replaced four members of the Vatican bank's five-cardinal oversight in what was seen as a radical reshuffling of oversight of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), which has come under scrutiny for alleged money laundering and is now working with the Council of Europe's Moneyval agency to bring it in line with international standards.

Over the years the Vatican Bank had acquired a murky image on transparency.