Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "There are those in the Church who instead of serving, of thinking of others, of laying foundations and serving the Church are social climbers, attached to money. And how many priests, bishops have we seen like this", said Pope Francis in his homily for the Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the two figures of "servants" in the liturgy today to warn against the temptation to lead "a double life": pretending to be one who serves but who in reality serves himself of others.
A concept not unlike that "there is always the temptation to corruption in public life. Both political and religious ", expressed in an interview with the Dutch street newspaper Straatnieuws, published and sold by the homeless in Utrecht, also published today on Vatican Radio.
At Mass, recalling the "radicalism" of the Gospel, Francis warned of a "lukewarm church" called to serve and not to be "moneymaker". The Pope began by pointing to the figure of St. Paul, who "gave his all to service, always”. A greatness that came from Jesus and "he boasted about serving, about being elected, about having the power of the Holy Spirit”. He was the servant who served, "administered, setting the stage, proclaiming Jesus Christ" and "he never stopped to seeks benefits in any one place, from an authority, to be served. He was a minister, a servant to serve, not to be served".
In the Gospel, then, the Lord shows us the image of another servant, "who instead of serving others is serving himself of others." And "we read what this servant did, how cunningly he moved, to keep his place". "There are those in the Church who instead of serving, of thinking of others, of laying foundations and serving the Church are social climbers, attached to money. And how many priests, bishops have we seen like this. It is sad to admit, no? The radical nature of the Gospel, the call of Jesus Christ to serve, be at the service of others, to never stop serving, to go beyond, forgetting ourselves. And the comfort of status: I have reached a status and live comfortably without honesty, like the Pharisees of which Jesus speaks strolling in the streets, by being seen by others".
Francis summarized these are two images of Christians, “two images of priests, two images of nuns. Two images". He reiterated, "Jesus shows us this model in Paul, this church that never stops", which "always goes forward and He makes us see that that is the path to follow".
"But when When the church is lukewarm, closed in on itself, even money hungry at times, you cannot say, that it's serving others, rather that it is serving itself of others. May the Lord give us the grace that was given to Paul, that point of honor to always go forward, always, renouncing our comforts so many times, and save us from temptation, from these temptations that basically are the temptations of a double life : I act like a servant to be seen, but in reality basically serve myself of others".
Francis also spoke of the "temptations" that come from money in the interview. "I would like to - emphasize two temptations. The Church must speak the truth and also witness to it, to witness to poverty. If a believer speaks about poverty, and leads the life of a Pharaoh – this cannot be done. This is the first temptation. The other temptation is to make agreements with governments. You can make agreements, but agreements must be clear, transparent agreements. For example, we run this building, but the accounts are all controlled, to avoid corruption. Because there is always the temptation to corruption in public life. Both political life and religious life. I remember, it is a very painful memory for me, that once I saw - when Argentina under the military regime entered into war with Britain for the Falkland Islands - that people donated things, and I saw that many people, including Catholics, who were in charge of distributing them, carry them home. There is always the danger of corruption. Once I asked an Argentinean minister, an honest man a question. He had left office because he could not accept some shadowy doings, so I asked the question: when you send aid to the needy, meals, clothes, money, how much of it actually arrives, the cash and physical aid? He said: 35 percent. It means that 65 percent is lost. It is corruption: one piece for me, another piece for me”.
Answering another question about Church properties, the Pope says that "they are not the treasures of the Church, they are the treasures of humanity. For example, if I cannot just decide to auction Michelangelo's Pieta tomorrow, because it is not owned by the Church. It's in a church, but it belongs to humanity. This applies to all the treasures of the Church. But we have started to sell gifts and other things that are given to me. And proceeds from the sale go to Monsignor Krajewski, who is my Papal Almoner. And then there are the auctions. There were cars that have been sold or given away in an auction, and the proceeds used for the poor. There are things that we can sell and they are sold".
"If we make a catalog of goods of the Church – he says - you would think the Church is very rich. But when the Concordat was signed with Italy in 1929 on the Roman Question, the Italian government of that time offered the Church a large park in Rome. The pope at the time, Pius XI, said: no, I just need a half kilometer squared to ensure the independence of the Church. This principle still applies. Yes, the Church has a lot of properties, but we use them to maintain the structures of the Church and for the up keep of the many projects that we have in countries in need: hospitals, schools. Yesterday, for example, I asked that EUR 50,000 be sent to the Congo to build three schools. In poor countries, education is an important thing for children. I went to the competent administration, I made this request and the money has been sent".
Finally, responding to a question, "if you would like a world without poverty", Francis replied: "I want a world without poverty. We should fight for this. But I am a believer and I know that sin is always within us. And there is always human greed, lack of solidarity, selfishness that creates the poor. It is hard for me to imagine a world without the poor. If you think children are exploited for slave labor, there are children exploited for sexual abuse. And another form of exploitation: killing children to remove organs, organ trafficking. Killing the children to remove organs is greed. This is why I do not know if we will ever have a world without the poor, because sin is always there and leads us to selfishness. But we have to struggle, always, always ... ".