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Pope Francis in the Camorra neighborhood: Corruption stinks!

2015-03-21

After visiting the Shrine of Pompeii, Pope Francis' first stop in Naples was in the district of Scampia. It is an area characterized by corruption and unemployment. The Neapolitan mafia also retains power there. 

He heard testimony from a Filipino immigrant, a laborer and a judge. The Pope then delivered a fiery speech in which he warned people to "never let evil have the last word.”

POPE FRANCIS
"Life in Naples has never been easy, but it has never been sad! And this is your biggest asset: happiness, joy.”

Speaking about immigrants, he said that there are no second-class citizens because they are all children of God.

Pope Francis also focused on the exploitation of laborers and unemployment. Scampia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Italy. The Pope said the problem is not that people cannot eat without working, but instead that they lose their dignity.

POPE FRANCIS
"But the problem is not about eating. The biggest problem is not having the ability to earn a living themselves. And when someone cannot make money, they lose their dignity. This lack of work steals our dignity! We have to fight this.”

The emotional high point of the visit came when Pope Francis denounced the mafia. He said that the remedy is to educate the young, as Saint John Bosco and Blessed Giuseppe Puglisi did.

The Pope concluded by emphasizing that a corrupt society is a society that turns away immigrants and doesn't give them work. He said that no Christian is immune to this problem.

POPE FRANCIS
"None of us can say 'No, I will not corrupt myself.' No! It is a temptation. It is a slippery slope from there: from easy business, to crime, to the exploitation of people. Corruption stinks and a corrupt society stinks. A Christian who lets corruption inside them is not Christian. That person stinks. Understand?”

Pope Francis' discussion of corruption, unemployment, and immigration were part of what is only the first of his seven speeches in Naples.


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