Saints and sinners: Pope Francis distinguishes between sin and corruption

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Santa Marta on September 1 2015 Credit LOsservatore Romano CNA Pope Francis says Mass at the chapel of Santa Marta house in the Vatican, Sept. 1, 2015. | L'Osservatore Romano.

The saints were also sinners, Pope Francis emphasized during his homily at the Santa Marta residence chapel on Friday morning, in which he highlighted the difference between sin and corruption, saying that while everyone is a sinner, not everyone is corrupt.

"Corruption is a very easy sin for all of us who have some power, whether it be ecclesiastical, religious, economic, political … because the devil makes us feel certain: 'I can do it,'" Pope Francis stated Jan. 29.

However, the Holy Father noted that the difference between sin and corruption is forgiveness. While the corrupt think they have no need for God, "regular sinners" feel the need for forgiveness.

Pope Francis used the reading from 2 Samuel 11 to further explain his point, which outlined the story of King David's own passage from sin to corruption.

"David is a saint, but also a sinner," the Holy Father explained.

First, David lustfully sought a married woman, Bathsheba. After she became pregnant, David tried to cover up his sin of adultery from her husband Uriah.  

After many failed attempts, David sent Uriah to fight on the front lines of battle. By doing this, David secured his own safety through the certain death of Bathsheba's husband.

It was "because the kingdom was strong," Pope Francis noted, that David's lust led him down the corrupt path to murder, making him confident that "he has the power, he has the strength."

"This puts David in a difficult position, but he says to himself 'I can do it,'" Pope Francis stated, saying that this was the moment "where David begins taking the first step towards corruption."

"He condemns him to death. This man, this faithful man [Uriah] – faithful to the law, faithful to his people, faithful to his king – carries his own death sentence," Pope Francis continued.

However, the "courageous youth" David was ultimately saved from corruption by the grace of God because he turned towards God's forgiveness. Pope Francis emphasized this turning point as the ultimate distinction between sin and corruption.

Just like David, there are moments in everyone's lives where the attitude of sin ends and turns to corruption, Pope Francis explained. This spirit of corruption leads to the rejection of God and forgiveness.

According to Pope Francis, "one of the ugliest things" about this stage is that corruption leads one to believe that he has "no need for forgiveness."

However, even if one sins regularly and still turns to God for mercy, he remains free from corruption. It is only when one believes they do not need God or forgiveness that they become corrupt.

"Today, let us offer a prayer for the Church, beginning with ourselves," the Pope said, praying, "Lord, save us, save us from corruption. We are sinners, yes, O Lord, all of us, but let us never become corrupt."

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