The Catholic Church has had a problem with corruption for centuries, but Pope Francis said in an interview on Friday that he is addressing this in spite of countless obstacles and widespread resistance to change.
The pontiff said in an interview with Italian news agency Adnkronos “the Church is and remains strong but the issue of corruption is a deep-rooted problem that dates back centuries.
“I have found lots of people who are taking risks on my behalf, who are putting their lives on the line, who are fighting with conviction for reform efforts.
“They know that we are in the right and that the path we have taken, despite a thousand obstacles and natural resistances, is the right one.”
The pope was elected in 2013 with a reform mandate, after the shock resignation of his predecessor Benedict XVI following a string of scandals concerning child sexual abuse, cronyism and corruption.
Scandals continued under Francis.
In September, for example, he fired a close aide, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, after accusing him of misusing Vatican charity funds to help his members of his family.
Adnkronos said Francis described himself as “not very optimistic” about his battle to change the church, but said this with a smile, adding: “But I trust in God and in men who are loyal to God.”
In the interview, the Pope apparently also turned down an opportunity to clarify remarks recently attributed to him in which he endorsed the idea of gay civil partnerships.