Pope Francis: Catholic Church Doesn't Need 'Blood Money' Donations

Pope Francis waves to the crowd while arriving to celebrate Mass in San Cristobal de las Casas, February 15, 2016.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd while arriving to celebrate Mass in San Cristobal de las Casas, February 15, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido)

The Catholic Church doesn't need the "blood money" of benefactors, but rather faithful Christians seeking Jesus' mercy, Pope Francis said in an address this week.

While speaking to the General Audience at the Vatican, the pontiff said that the Catholic Church will not accept money from donors who have earned their profits through immoral means, including underpaid labor practices.

"Some donors come to the Church offering profits from the blood of people who have been exploited, mistreated, enslaved with badly paid work," Francis told the audience, adding the "People of God don`t need their dirty money."

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The pope went on to say that many sinners take the wrong paths to righteousness: "[...] when a person is sick he turns to the doctor; when he feels he has sinned he must turn to God – because if he turns to the witchdoctor he will not be healed […] we often choose to tread the wrong paths in search of a justification, justice, and peace."

Francis added that if God chastises his children for their corruption, it is so He may see them reform themselves.

"If He chastises his people, it is to move them to repentance and conversion. In his mercy, he asks them to turn back to him with all their hearts and to receive a righteousness that is itself his gift," the pope said.

"God is pleased, Isaiah tells us, not by ritual sacrifice but by rejecting evil and practicing justice. Though our sins be like scarlet, he will make them white as snow. May all of us be open, during this year of grace, to our heavenly Father's merciful invitation to come back to him and to experience this miracle of his love and forgiveness," the religious leader added.

The pope has spoken numerous times on the evil of money and greed, warning in March 2015 that when worshipped as an idol, money can become the "dung of the devil."

"When it becomes an idol, [it] commands the choices of men [and] makes him a slave," Francis said at the time.

The pope also addressed greed and money during his recent visit to Mexico, where he encouraged young Mexicans to not be deceived by the seemingly-opulent lifestyle of drug lords.

"You are the wealth of Mexico, you are the wealth of the Church. I understand that often it is difficult to feel your value when you are continually exposed to the loss of friends or relatives at the hands of the drug trade, of drugs themselves, of criminal organizations that sow terror," he said, speaking from a soccer stadium in Morelia, considered to be the capital of Mexico's drug trade.

"It is hard to feel the wealth of a nation when there are no opportunities for dignified work, no possibilities for study or advancement, when you feel your rights are being trampled on, which then leads you to extreme situations. It is difficult to appreciate the value of a place when, because of your youth, you are used for selfish purposes, seduced by promises that end up being untrue," the pope added.

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