Pope Francis tells Latin American leaders to resist corruption during the pandemic

Pope Francis attends the Prayer Meeting for Peace in Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio Oct. 20, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Nov 20, 2020 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis has called on leaders in Latin America to not politicize the coronavirus pandemic, urging them to seek the common good over personal interest.

In a video message sent to participants in a virtual seminar Nov. 19-20 on the Catholic response to the coronavirus crisis in Latin America, the pope said that it was essential that those in leadership “learn the art of encounter” and find solutions that alleviate the suffering caused by the pandemic.

“The depth of the crisis demands proportionally that the ruling political class rise to the height where they can look up and lead and guide the legitimate differences in search of viable solutions for our peoples,” the pope said.

It was time for those who were empowered by their people to govern to do so in “service of the common good and not have the common good placed at the service of their interests,” Pope Francis said.

“We all know the dynamics of the corruption that goes this way. And this also applies to the men and women of the Church,” he said, adding that corruption is “a true leprosy that sickens and kills the Gospel.”

Pope Francis recorded the message for participants in a virtual seminar entitled “Latin America: Church, Pope Francis, and the stages of the pandemic.”

The seminar was organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and the Latin American bishops’ council (CELAM).

“I invite you, impelled by the light of the Gospel, to continue going out together with all people of goodwill in search of those who cry out for help, in the manner of the Good Samaritan, embracing the weakest,” the pope said.

“Faced with these great challenges, let us ask la Guadalupana [Our Lady of Guadalupe] that our Latin American land does not get out of hand, that is: that it does not lose the memory of its Mother,” he said.

“May the crisis, far from separating us, help us to recover and value the consciousness of that common cultural intermixing that unites us and makes us children of the same Father.”

The pope also met with a group of students, faculty, and alumni of the Pontifical Latin American College at the Vatican’s apostolic palace Nov. 20.

“Currently, there are Latin Americans scattered throughout the world, and many Christian communities have benefited from this reality,” he said. “Churches from northern and central Europe, even from the east, which have found in them a new vitality and a renewed thrust.”

“May the Virgin Mother, la Guadalupana, Patroness of Latin America, sustain your hope in this course that is now opening in the midst of human uncertainties, so that you can follow God’s call wherever the Lord sends you and be witnesses of the human brotherhood that is born of being children of God,” he said.

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