A Vatican official called on the international community on June 15 to “seek new and innovative” anti-corruption measures amid challenges brought about by the new coronavirus pandemic.
Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said the global health crisis could “provide a real opportunity” for “non-divisive, politicized or partial” solutions to counter corruption.
“We have already begun to notice tangible social, economic, and environmental changes in our region due to this crisis,” said Monsignor Urbańczyk in an online conference.
He encouraged those who joined the conference, which was the second preparatory meeting of the 28th Economic and Environmental Forum, to give greater attention to the fight against corruption.
The Vatican official stressed the need for the international community to keep “a focused attention” on good governance for “it generates instability and reaches into many aspects of the security, economic and human dimensions.”
He said corruption “gives the illusion of quick and easy gains, but, in reality, it hurts everyone, undermining trust, overshadowing transparency and leads to doubting the very reliability of the whole legal and social system.”
Monsignor Urbańczyk reaffirmed Pope Francis’ earlier statement that corruption “degrades the dignity of the individual and shatters all good and beautiful ideals.”
“Society as a whole is called to commit itself concretely to combating the cancer of corruption in its various forms,” the Vatican official quoted the pontiff.
He emphasized the responsibility of public administrators to operate with transparency and honesty, “fostering the relationship of trust between citizens and institutions.”
He also noted that “the dissolution of this trust is one of the most serious manifestations of a crisis of democracy.”
“The common good constitutes a resource that must be protected for the benefit of all, especially the poorest, and in the face of its irresponsible use the state is called upon to perform an indispensable supervisory function, duly sanctioning unlawful conduct,” he said.
Monsignor Urbańczyk said it is “obvious” that governments’ priority is the protection of health and safety “as we face an unprecedented health crisis,” thus, exposing potential risks and opportunities for corruption and breaches of anti-corruption standards.