VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is urging Buddhists to work with Christians to combat corruption, saying corrupt political, business and religious leaders put lives at risk, damage the environment and threaten governance.

The Vatican's interreligious dialogue office issued a message to Buddhists to mark the holiday of Vesak, which is celebrated at different times around Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

In the message published Wednesday, the Vatican said the "evil" of corruption cannot be met with silence, and urged Buddhists and Christians to work with media and civil society to expose corruption and hold white-collar criminals accountable. It said: "People are scandalized by incompetent and corrupt politicians, ineffective legislation and the failure to investigate major corruption cases."

It warned that populist movements backed by religious fundamentalists have arisen to protest the law-and-order breakdown.