VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis told prelates Saturday to shun the “logic of human power,” pressing his campaign to root out corruption and other wrongdoing from the Vatican’s scandal-tainted power structures.
The admonition came a day after the latest embarrassment for the Vatican hierarchy — the arrest by Italian authorities of a Vatican accountant, in a probe of an alleged attempt by the prelate to secure the smuggling of 20 million euros ($26 million) in banknotes from Switzerland into Italy. The Italian monsignor, who was suspended a few weeks earlier from his job in the Vatican’s finance office, is also under investigation in a separate money-laundering probe by prosecutors in southern Italy.
Francis is making reforms aimed at ensuring his papacy’s priorities, which include paying more attention to the world’s poor and concentrating on cultivating spiritual, not material, wealth. He delivered a kind of moral pep talk to church leaders, including Vatican cardinals, gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica for an annual ceremony to welcome newly made archbishops.
“Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guided by faith, by God, we become stumbling blocks,” the pope said. “Faith in Christ is the light of our life as Christians and as ministers in the church.”
Francis also put church leaders on guard against “the peril of thinking in worldly terms.”