On 31 July, 2017, the International Consultation Group for Justice, Corruption, Organised Crime and Mafias, (ICG), sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, published a document reminding us of our ‘moral obligation’ to fight corruption in all its forms and to have a conscience about such matters. The text of the document is published in English by Radio Vatican .
The awakening of consciences.
The prefect of this Dicastery, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, is the author of a recent book on corruption prefaced by Pope Francis that suggests the possibility of defeating corruption by means of a ‘new humanism,’ stating:
“A movement, an awakening of conscience is necessary. That’s our primary motivation, which we perceive as a moral obligation. The laws are necessary but insufficient. Action needs to be taken at three levels: education, culture and citizenship. In order to fight these phenomena, we need to act courageously and create awareness, in spite of the indifference that is widespread about the seriousness of these phenomena.’’
In February 2018, an intention of prayer will be: that those who have a physical, political or spiritual power do not slide towards corruption.
Don Puglisi, priest and martyr.
Vatican Radio published an English version of the outcome document of the International debate on corruption (available here by placing your cursor on the blue word ‘document’ and then clicking on ‘Ctrl + Click’ document ).
The International debate on corruption has pointed out, says the document, the importance of identifying different forms of corruption, organised crime and mafias.
According to Cardinal Turkson, before being ‘an action’, corruption is ‘a situation’, hence the necessary emphasis on education and training and the participation of all citizens. He also calls for action on the part of institutions.
The ICG proposes to devise various definitions of corruption as the Pope and Cardinal Turkson suggest in «Corrosione.» The ICG do not intend to make pious exhortations only but will focus on concrete action, as a means of making their intentions credible.
From next September – the anniversary of the assassination of the priest and martyr Italian don Giuseppe Puglisi (1937-1993) – and all through the year 2018, the ICG will focus its efforts in the fight against corruption.
The victims of the mafia.
In a tweet (published in Italian) marking the 25th anniversary of the murder of anti-mafia judge Paolo Borsellino on July 19, 2017, the Pope called for prayer for all the victims of the mafia, urging them to find the strength to move forward and to continue to fight against corruption.
At the same time, the ICG announced the establishment of an international network, stating: “the Church which is itself a network can and should serve this purpose, with courage, resolution, transparency, cooperation and creativity.’’
The ICG propose a definition of corruption as “any person seeking alliances to get privileges, exemptions, preferences through illegal ways, is not acting justly. When we consciously decide to follow these behaviors, we run the risk of becoming unfit, harmful and dangerous. Those who take advantage of their position to recommend people who are often not commendable in terms of value and honesty- are not credible.’’
The document further states: “Thus, the action of the ICG will be educational and informative and will go to the public and many institutions to develop and encourage a mentality of freedom and justice, for the common good.”
The document pointed out the fact that often people do not realise that corruption is at the root of a crime. The ICG intend to address this lack of awareness, especially in the contemporary world where corruption is the “dominant social system.”
The ICG will also focus on the development of a comprehensive response through the Episcopal Conferences and local churches. Such a response may include ‘excommunication’ of the mafia and other similar criminal organizations. The document states:
” This will require that we listen to and dialogue with non-Christians in a way that is active, transparent and effective.’’
The document also recommends work on the development of the relationship between ‘beauty and justice,’ stating:
“our extraordinary historical, artistic and architectural legacy will be valuable in supporting the educational and social actions against all forms of corruption and organized crime.”
One of the objectives of the ICG, is the implementation of the Conventions of Palermo and Merida, with a commitment to being political, paying special attention to democracy and secularism. Such an emphasis is intended to highlight civil institutions and to ensure that international treaties must be effectively strengthened and standardized for better legislation. This is essential in order to combat crime which has tentacles reaching far beyond the borders of States.
Corruption and peace processes.
The ICG “will analyse in- depth, the relationship between the peace process and forms of corruption.’’ Their document acknowledges that references to corruption and peace processes are in the statutes of the Dicastery for the integral human development. The ICG are committed to “expressing the concern of the Holy see on issues of justice and peace” and to echo the message of the Pope who says that “Corruption also leads to a lack of peace.”
The ICG has published 21 objectives, aimed at identifying the early signs of corruption; create an understanding of the implications of the term ‘excommunication for corruption’; nurturing the awareness of public opinion, through to the creation of a ‘culture of justice’ amongst citizens.
Amongst the objectives are the following:
- The identification of the multiple ‘consequences’ of corruption; the deepening of relations between peoples; the connections between peace processes and institutions and corruption, the promotion of international legal measures against corruption, organized crime and the mafia; the identification of concrete steps to strengthen the laws;
- Deepen the knowledge of the history of corruption, the mafia and other criminal organizations and distribute such studies; pursue the question of the relationship between corruption and social injustice;
- Give voice to the victims, broadcast their stories; deepen the relationship between history, beauty, art, and justice, promote initiatives; create a discussion forum (Michelangelo For Justice on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube / Instagram);
- Proposals of education and training; a political vision in relation to the idea of democracy, secularization, social justice, to promote integral human development; the role of the Church and the laity in this fight; awareness of virtuous practices; identify who can enrich the participation in the ICG by allowing a plurality;
- Identify businesses, institutions and lawyers to assist in the economic development of the activities of the ICG, such as publication initiatives, meetings, debates and art events; actions in the media, social networks;
- Create documentaries and e-magazines; promote actions in schools, universities, social organizations, prisons, educational and charitable organizations; identify the institutions, associations and Government groups who may wish to join the network, to cooperate and identify agreements;
- Gather texts, documents, books and audio-visual material and encourage the exchange of information on joint initiatives.