Corruption is the ‘termite of politics’

Pope Francis on Oct 1 blasted corruption as the “termite of politics” because it doesn’t permit a society to grow, and described every good politician as a kind of “martyr” to service because he or she must be willing to set aside their own ideas and desires to seek the common good.

Oct 06, 2017

VATICAN: Pope Francis on Oct 1 blasted corruption as the “termite of politics” because it doesn’t permit a society to grow, and described every good politician as a kind of “martyr” to service because he or she must be willing to set aside their own ideas and desires to seek the common good.

A good form of politics, the Pope said, is “not subservient to individual ambitions or powerful factions and centres of interests.”

Francis called for a kind of politics that’s “neither a servant nor an owner, but a friend and collaborator … neither fearful nor reckless, but responsible and therefore, courageous and prudent at the same time.”

The Pope’s remarks came in what was billed as a “meeting with citizens,” which basically meant the population of Cesena, a city of about 97,000 people in Italy’s north-central Emilia-Romagna region.

Good politics “encourages involvement of people, their progressive inclusion and participation.” It doesn’t leave anyone at the margins, the Pope said.

The Pope, known for his environmental leadership, including publishing the first-ever encyclical letter devoted to the care of creation in Laudato’ Si, also added a “green” note to his profile of good politics.

Such a form of politics, he said, “doesn’t plunder and pollute natural resources, which aren’t a bottomless well but a treasure given to us by God to use with respect and intelligence.”

Francis called all this the “authentic face” of politics, and said it’s the reason that the social doctrine of the Catholic Church considers politics “a noble form of charity.”

Francis drew his strongest applause from the enthusiastic crowd when he called on politicians to pursue the common good and to reject “even the most minimal form of corruption.”

Frustration with corruption scandals is a common theme of Italian political life, recently inspiring the populist Cinque Stelle, or “Five Star” movement to shake up the country’s political establishment — only to see some of its anti-establishment leaders become embroiled in corruption scandals of their own after taking public office, including, at the moment, the Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi.

“Corruption is the collapse of politics, because it doesn’t allow the society to grow,” he said. “A good politician always ends up as a sort of martyr, because he or she must let their own ideas and desires go in order to seek the common good.” -- Crux

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