“They are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.”
–Pope Francis, speaking of the Calabrian mafia
Pope Francis had strong words for the mafia during his visit to the southern Italian region of Calabria on Saturday. In his homily for the feast of Corpus Domini, he accused the mafioso of “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.” “Those who in their lives have taken this evil road,” the Pope said,
“…this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.”
Vatican Radio tells the story:
The Pope’s visit to the region, marked by violence and corruption and renowned for mafia activity, was highly anticipated by the locals, who in recent months were rocked by the murder of Fr. Lazzaro Longobardi, as well as the death of a three-year-old boy, the innocent victim of a mafia homicide. In his homily, the Pope spoke about the evils that can occur when adoration of God is replaced by adoration of money. “Your land, which so beautiful, knows the signs of the consequences of this sin,” he told those assembled. “This evil must be fought, must be expelled.” He called on the local Church to expend itself even more “so that good can prevail”. “Our children ask this of us,” he added. He said faith can help in responding to these demands. He called the faithful of the Church in Calabria to be brothers and to show each other practical solidarity, noting signs of hope in local families and in the Church. He also urged young people not to allow themselves to be robbed of hope. He told the faithful his trip was intended to express his support for the local Church, to confirm the people in faith and charity, and to encourage them in their journey with Jesus Christ. “Today,” he continued, “we ask the Lord to enlighten us and to convert us, so that we truly adore only him and we renounce evil in all its forms.”
Pope Francis has been an influencer for change, by his actions prompting bishops to reevaluate their own ministries–embracing a poorer church, for example. So I am curious: Will this direct statement, issued during the Mass, prompt American bishops to speak openly about those in our own country who, by their political actions, have demonstrated that they “are not in communion with God”?