(19) With courageous specificity, Pope Francis calls on those who knowingly practice corruption to change their ways and be transformed by the grace of God into those who knowingly show mercy. Included in his call are those in criminal organizations (and any others, for that matter) who prey on others and exist due to rampant greed.
Mercenary activity of any kind creates merciless living, depriving others of their dignity, property, feelings–and in some cases, even their lives. The Pope leaves no doubt about it–any person, group or organization that is rooted in making money as an end in itself works against mercy, because accumulation replaces altruism.
This is a hard-hitting segment of the Pope’s writing–what might be called the “prophetic” side of the mercy message–the side which confronts every egoic individual or system that blocks the flow of God’s mercy.
Pope Francis puts it this way: “To stick to the way of evil will leave one deluded and sad. The way of life is something entirely different.” But the Pope does not leave his exhortation there–which would be to withhold the very mercy he is commending.
He goes on, ending this segment ends with an invitation to those who are engaged in corruption to abandon it and choose life, so that they too might become receivers of God’s mercy–and, in turn, be agents of mercy to others.
[Note: the numbers at the beginning of each meditation correspond to the section of the Pope’s document on which it is based]