“Being sinners and being corrupt is not the same thing: it’s very different. It is one thing to fall, but then, repenting, to get up again with the help of God’s mercy. Something else is hypocritical conspiracy with evil, corruption of the heart, that appears faultless on the outside, but is full of evil intentions and nasty selfishness inside”. Pope Francis said this in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna yesterday afternoon as he offered a prayer to Our Lady during his traditional act of homage to the Immaculate Conception. Before arriving at the Square at about 3:40pm, the Pope had stopped at the Basilica of St. Mary Major to pray to Mary. Upon his arrival in Piazza di Spagna, packed by Romans and tourists who are visiting the city these days, Pope Francis was welcomed by Cardinal Vicar Angelo de Donatis. Representing the City was Mayor Virginia Raggi. Having laid a wreath of white roses at the foot of the statue dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, the Pope offered his prayer to the Virgin: “Your crystal-clear purity calls us back to sincerity, transparency, simplicity. How much we need to be liberated from corruption of heart, which is the greatest danger!”. Pope Francis then noted that “this seems impossible to us, we are so accustomed to it, yet it is within easy reach”. But “it is enough to look up at your Mother’s smile, at your unspoiled beauty, to feel once more that we are not meant for evil, but for good, for love, for God!”. The Pope then entrusted to Our Lady “all those who, in this city and throughout the world, are burdened by disillusionment, by discouragement; those who think there is no longer hope for them, that their sins are too many and too great, and that God certainly does not have time to waste with them”. “How the face of the city changes”, the Pope remarked, if the Lord breaks the chains of evil and dependencies within people! When this happens, “the quality of life improves and the social climate becomes more breathable”.