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Vatican nuncio condemns ‘scourge of corruption’

Charles Daniel Balvo Archbishop Charles Balvo. / Dan1/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A Vatican representative denounced the “scourge of corruption” at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Thursday.

Archbishop Charles Balvo, head of the Holy See delegation to the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, also presented Pope Francis’ new law for limiting corruption and increasing transparency in how the Vatican awards public contracts. The new procedures were established June 1. 

“When civil officials steal or misappropriate public funds, it affects the whole of the community that they serve,” the apostolic nuncio to the Czech Republic said in his remarks at the forum’s concluding meeting in Prague.

“Solid and lasting economic progress and security are undermined -- if not completely thwarted – without good public and corporate governance, transparency and accountability,” he added.

The nuncio also noted concerns that the vast funds being made available for coronavirus pandemic relief and recovery are already attracting criminal activities, “which include the risk that those most in need of financial support will remain without the urgently necessary help.”

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“While the present pandemic is a tremendous test for the international community,” he said, “it also provides a real opportunity to seek new and innovative solutions that are not divisive, politicized or partial, but that truly seek the common good and the integral human development of all.”

Balvo added that states that belong to the OSCE must acknowledge that corruption occurs in each of them to varying degrees.

The OSCE has 57 member states from Europe, Central Asia, and North America, including the Holy See.

Balvo quoted Pope Francis in his note accompanying the June 1 anti-corruption law: that the “need for a faithful and honest administration is even more keenly felt and urgent, given that […] the administrator is called upon to take responsibility for the interests of a community, which go well beyond those of individuals or particular interests.”

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