Pope Francis warned on Monday against the “lure of corruption” in the Vatican that he says is a threat requiring constant vigilance.
The pontiff offered his encouragement in a meeting with the Office of the Auditor General — the highest anti-corruption authority overseeing the Roman Curia.
“Those who work at the Holy See and the Vatican City State certainly do so faithfully and honestly,” the pope wrote in remarks read by an assistant. “But the lure of corruption is so dangerous that we must be extremely vigilant.”
Pope Francis — who is recovering after a severe case of bronchitis — prepared the speech himself, though he was unable to read it.
“I know you dedicate much time to this,” the pope continued, emphasizing the constant need to discern the needs of “absolute transparency” and “merciful discretion.”
Pope Francis’s remarks come amid the final days of a yearslong Vatican financial corruption trial.
Ten defendants, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, are accused of defrauding the Vatican in a $400 million real estate transaction.
All 10 defendants deny the allegations and are pursuing acquittals on all counts.
“I invite you to help those responsible for the administration of the Holy See’s assets to create safeguards that can prevent, ‘upstream’, the insidiousness of corruption from materializing,” the pontiff told the auditors.