Blessed are the tax collectors: Pope praises Italy’s inland revenue workers

Pope Francis stresses taxation system must favour the redistribution of wealth to help those most in need

<p>The Pope said the taxation system is a “guarantee of equality”. </p>

The Pope said the taxation system is a “guarantee of equality”.

Pope Francis shared his support for tax collectors on Monday, saying they are vital for the functioning of a fair society and a “guarantee of equality”.

Speaking to a delegation of the Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s tax collection agency, the Pope reflected on the Biblical roots of taxation and its role in bettering inequality.

He said taxation “must favour the redistribution of wealth, safeguarding the dignity of the poor and the least, who always risk being trodden underfoot by the powerful. The taxman, when he or she is just, promotes the common good.

“Let us work so that the culture of the common good grows and — this is important — so that the universal destination of goods is taken up seriously,” he added.

The Pope explored themes of legality, impartiality and transparency in his speech, and described the taxation as a “sign of legality and justice”, despite the work of tax-collectors often being thankless.

He reminded the delegation of the profession of St. Matthew the Apostle, who was a publican or tax collector during the Roman times before following Jesus.

He said: “Matthew may have even continued to manage his own wealth, even those of others, but he certainly did so with a different logic: that of service to the needy and sharing with the brothers and sisters, just as the Teacher taught him.”

The Pope also praised those who fairly pay their taxes and denounce tax evasion despite its prevalence.

In Italy, underground economies where tax evasion is rife are thought to be worth 200 billion euros a year.

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