By Francesca Merlo
Pope Francis begins his address to the Court of Auditors by reminding them that their institution incarnates an ethic aimed at promoting the common good. This, he says “is not only an ideological concept” but one that is linked to the conditions of the full development of all citizens. It is for this reason that the State is called upon to be the “defender of each person’s natural human rights”.
Pope Francis expresses the importance of applying three main concepts to their work In order to obtain the common good: the fight against corruption, a control of expenses, and attention to the poor.
Fighting corruption is essential, says the Pope, as corruption “is one of society’s main wounds”, harming it both ethically and economically. The Court of Auditors, her continues, is a “valuable instrument to prevent and strike at illegality”. In fact, each steward must be evermore aware of their “responsibility to operate with transparency and honesty”. In this way, he explains, the “relationship between citizens and institutions” can be improved.
So that all may benefit
“Strict control of expenditure curbs the temptation, recurrent in those in political or administrative positions, to manage resources not wisely, but for the purposes of clientele and mere electoral consensus”, warns Pope Francis. The “rigorous control of expenses”, he says, is one way of facilitating the strengthening of this relationship between citizens and institutions. He explains that working for the common good involves sharing resources so that everyone can benefit from them – especially, he says, the poor, who suffer most from the irresponsible use and distribution of resources.
For this reason, says Pope Francis, the State is called upon to perform a supervisory role, “duly sanctioning” unlawful conduct.
Serene and serious
Finally, Pope Francis encourages members of the Court of Auditors to pursue their duties “with serenity and seriousness”, whilst always being motivated by the knowledge that they are rendering a service - with an aim to helping culture and legality grow within society.
He urges them to use Lent as a time to see Christ as a “witness of truth and justice”, as His Word is an “inextinguishable source of motivation to all those who dedicate themselves to the service of the common good.”