Pope blesses tax collectors, says paying taxes is sign of ‘legality and justice’

Pope Francis on Monday shared some words of encouragement with a group of people whose “work appears to be thankless.”

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Francis, speaking to a delegation from the Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s revenue agency, encouraged the tax collectors to keep working to redistribute wealth and help the poor.

Francis acknowledged that the group is often seen as an agency that is “putting your hands in other people’s pockets, but that what they do is a valuable service.

“In reality, taxation is a sign of legality and justice,” he said. He went on to urge the wealthy to pay their fair share.

“It (taxaction) must favor the redistribution of wealth, looking out for the dignity of the poorest who risk always ending up crushed by the powerful,” he said. “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 also praised people who pay the taxes they owe, the AP reported.

Francis said that while tax collectors are not so popular on Earth, they do have a patron saint in heaven.

St. Matthew was a tax collector before he became one of Jesus Christ’s Apostles, the pope told the group, Reuters reported.