VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Anyone with a bit of power — in the church or in the world — needs to be on guard against allowing their sinfulness to turn into corruption, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

“All of us who have any power, whether it is ecclesiastical, religious, economic or political power,” he said, have an easier risk of becoming corrupt “because the devil makes us feel certain ‘I can do it myself.'”


At Mass in the chapel of his residence Jan. 29, Pope Francis focused on the day’s reading from the Second Book of Samuel, which described how King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and instead of asking forgiveness, plotted to have Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle.

“This is a moment in David’s life when we see something that can happen in all our lives: the passage from sin to corruption,” the pope said. In the story, David “takes the first step toward corruption. He has the power, he has the strength,” so instead of repenting, he tries to cover up what he did. Only later will he accept God’s mercy and convert once again.

“When our situation is so secure and people think the best of us and we have so much power,” the pope said, it is easy to stop recognizing sin as sin, which is the root of corruption.

“The Lord always forgives,” Pope Francis said, “but one of the worst things about corruption is that the corrupt person doesn’t think he needs forgiveness, he just doesn’t feel it.”

The pope ended his homily by asking the small congregation pray for the church, “for the pope, for bishops, priests, consecrated people, the lay faithful: ‘Lord, save us, save us from corruption. Yes, Lord, we are all sinners, but never let us be corrupt. We ask for this grace.'”