Pope Francis gave a verbal slap to corrupt leaders who exploit local laborers, charging that they “cannot claim to be Christian.” He was addressing the crowds in Naples’ notorious outskirts of Scampia.
Speaking off the cuff during his one-day trip to the city March 21, the Pope also warned that every person is capable of being corrupt, and that no one should feel exempt from this temptation.
“If we close the door to migrants, if we take job and dignity away from people, this is called corruption. And all of us are capable of being corrupt, none of us can say ‘I will never be corrupt,’” the Pope said.
Pope Francis added that human nature always contends with a strong pull “to slide toward easy business, toward the wrongdoings, toward crime, toward the exploitation of people.”
“How much corruption is in the world! If we hear this word, it’s a bad word, since a corrupt thing is a rotten thing. If we find the corpse of an animal, it’s rotten, and it stinks… and corruption stinks, the man who let corruption inside of him is corrupt, and so he stinks.”
In his mostly impromptu speech, Pope Francis also spoke immigration and job exploitation, following a series of three questions posed to him by a Filipino woman who migrated to Scampia, a worker who voiced the concerns of unemployed people, and the president of the Naples Court.
According to Pope Francis, “one of the negative signs of our times is the lack of work for young people. Just think that more than 40 per cent of young people under 25 are unemployed. This is serious! What can an unemployed young person do? What future can they have?”
A voice from the crowd yelled: “The Camorra” – which is the name for organized crime Naples.
Pope Francis stressed that “real issue is not feeding these people, it is not that we (don’t) have charities that can feed this people…the real issue is that these people cannot earn their food through their labor, and when you don’t earn bread, you lose dignity…this lack of work robs us of our dignity,” the Pope said.
“We cannot stay silent! We have to fight against this system, we have to defend the dignity of citizens, of men and women, of young people,” the Pope exclaimed.
The Pope also pointed his finger at what he called “the half job,” that is, “the exploitation of people.”
Pope Francis gave an example of a young woman who was offered a job working 11 hours a day for 600 euros per month, with no insurance or pension fund, and that she was told that “if she had refused, many people were seeking that job.”
“This is slavery, this is exploitation. It is not human, it is not Christian. If someone doing this described himself as a Christian, he is a liar,” the Pope underscored.
Speaking about immigrants, the Pope responded to the Filipino immigrant who asked the Pope to stress that migrants are sons of God.
“Is it really needed to say this? Are migrants second class human beings? Our brother and sister migrants must feel that they are sons of God, and that they are migrants like we are… since all of us are migrants toward another land, where each of us will go… all of us are migrants in the path of life, none of us will remain forever on earth… all of us will go to visit God!”
Courtesy: Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA.