Pope Francis Excommunicates the Mafia

Pope Francis Excommunicates the Mafia June 21, 2014

 

Pope Francis excommunicated all members of the Mafia today.

It is rare indeed for a Pope to say that every single person who is member of a group is excommunicated by reason of that membership. But, in my opinion, this particular excommunication is long overdue.

Pope Francis went to Calabria, a region of Italy that is reputed to be heavily corrupted by the Mafia, to issue this excommunication.

He called the Mafia an “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated,” he said.

The fact that the Holy Father chose the weekend of the Feast of Corpus Christi to issue this excommunication is deeply symbolic. The Body of Christ, which is present in the Eucharist on all the altars of the Catholic Church in the world, must not be profaned by allowing those who live by murder and corruption, destroyers of life, to partake of it.

Salvation is available to anyone who repents. I hope that this excommunication results in two things: A cleansing of the Church, and a changed life for at least some of these people who have chosen the Mafia as their little g god.

In the meantime, we need to pray for the safety of our brave and honest Holy Father, Pope Francis.

From Vatican Radio:

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis concluded his one-day trip to the southern Italian region of Calabria with strong words against the Calabrian mafia, calling it “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated,” he said to applause.

The Pope made these statements on Saturday during the feast-day Mass he presided for Corpus Domini on the plains of the small town of Sibari, a once-important city in the Hellenistic period of Calabrian history.

Organizers planned for 200,000 faithful to attend. They gathered under the hot sun, with temperatures flirting around the 30-degree mark. Sitting in the first rows of the assembly were those with illness and disability, rather than local dignitaries—a decision the local bishop chose to underline ahead of the Pope’s trip.

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.

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25 responses to “Pope Francis Excommunicates the Mafia”

  1. Good for Pope Francis!

    This is the sort of thing I’d expect from an organization that claims to be God’s representatives on Earth.

    What with this and the Vatican Bank actions, I hope he has food tasters and very good security.

    • You would expect it, and in fact it has been doing so for decades. You may have missed the dead priests, the fiery speeches from bishops and archbishops, the election of anti-mafia Catholics in places such as the mayoralty of Palermo, because the press does not bother to report it. And as the current idiot narrative is “revolutionary Pope turning church upside down” instead of “Pope following in precedent of predecessors”, you will never understand what is actually going on.

      • Read about some of this in Roberto Saviano’s book Gomorrah. Excellent read. I always wondered why the murder of priests for speaking the truth in the cradle of Catholicism never got more press.

        Boss move by my man Bergoglio for sure.

  2. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high…..

  3. As an Italian-American, I think this is great. It probably doesn’t mean much to the Mafia, but it sends a message. But why limit this to the mafia? There are gangsters of every ethnicity. And why limit this to gangsters? How about abortionists?

    • I thought about this myself Manny. I’m taking the assumption that abortionists are always — have always been — automatically excommunicated. I don’t know of an abortionist (at least not here in Oklahoma) who is a practicing Catholic. There may be one, but not that I know of. Do you know someone like this? (Not arguing. Just trying to think this through.)

      • I don’t know any abortionist. I’m not sure I could look an abortionist in the face and not feel total revulsion.

        Going back to the original point of your post, I’m beginning to have second thoughts about the clarity of what the Holy Father did here. Kathy Schiffer had a similar themed post and I basically said the same comment here, but in my exchange with a person named Vito, he brought out the Pope’s reasoning and I think it’s problemmatic. Check out my exchange with Vito:

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kathyschiffer/2014/06/pope-francis-declares-mafia-excommunicated-during-mass-in-calabria/#comment-1449778555

        The Pope has excommunicated a group of people based on what he conjectures to be their motivations, not specific individuals for specific sins. That’s too broad a brush and is unfair to one that my have guilt over their actions. The Pope might be right over their motivations, but he can’t assume to read their minds.

        • The syndicates are evil. They operate in murder, sex trafficking, drugs, extortion, murder, murder, and murder. If you’re affiliated, you are working in furtherance of that evil. Does it matter what your subjective intentions are? This is a serious question and I’m curious. And I’m talking mafiosi, not the people Fabio describes as being merely complicit or paying protection money.

          • LOL, I am not affiliated. No way, Jose. Does it matter what your subjective intentions are? They might when it comes to heaven and hell. God’s judgement is not a court of law. He judges the human heart and there may be complications that mitigate the sin. But tell me, how is a priest serving mass supposed to know who is a mafioso or not? How can this excommunication be enforced?

    • Nobody is FORCED to join. You may be forced to pay, but that is another matter altogether. In fact, in Calabria there is no such thing as joining: the ‘ndrangheta is very much a matter of families, and you are born in it.

  4. I am pretty confident that this was an observation by the Pope and not formal, yet. Meaning, he could say in addition to this, that all politicians who vote for abortion, etc, are excommunicated – automatic. But, he can also turn around and formally excommunicate these families. I am very concerned that he has decided not to use the Pope Mobile. These people need to be dealt with and I am glad he said something and hope he continues.

  5. The next in line should be the members of the pseudo-Catholic mafia in US politics (Pelosi, Biden et al.) They do as much harm to the faith as the Italian mobsters. But I don’t think that the proper act of excommunication is as simple as that. It is not enough for the pope to say, “You are excommunicated!”…

  6. yes, some 100-200 years late, but better later than never.

    If we had Francis as Pope in the 1930s perhaps proper words would have been addressed towards Hitler, Mussolini and their mobs too.

  7. Good – I hope this will inspire the American Bishops to dust off their excommunication booklets. Lord knows we have plenty of people that “adore evil” while claiming it is good.

  8. I understand this us the first time it was done, mostly, I think to protect priests in the area.
    Fr Longanecker writes here about excommunication and the complications of Latae Sententiae.
    http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/article/pope-takes-on-the-mob-5845938455183360
    Also on Standing on my Head here on Patheos.
    And I hope this gives our bishops and some worldwide (Mexico to start) the encouragement they need to excommunicate politicians and others.

  9. both organizations share a similarity with each other. other than their obsession with wealth and power, the bodies turned up in the Irish orphanage reminds me of all the bodies turned up in the swamps in new york city or new jersey by La Cosa Nostra.

    • I’m allowing this, not to start a line of discussion — please don’t reply to this — but to show how an untrue story like the bodies in the septic tank never goes away, even if the people who first spread it retract.

  10. This is the sort of thing that makes me wish all journalists were excommunicated latae sententiae. Or to misquote the old proverb, if you meet a journalist, beat him up. You don’t know why you will, but he does.

    The Church has been at war with the Mafia at least since the nineties. The previous Popes, and great churchmen such as the late Cardinal Pappalardo of Palermo, have thundered against organized crime again and again. This is nothing new, and it is not a formal sentence of excommunication either. Practically, it does not make a whole lot of difference: it will give bold priests an extra weapon to fight the fight they are already fighting, but it will not strengthen cowardly ones. The fact is that there is no written register of mafia members. You don’t sign a contract. You may be on the edge of it and never get your hands dirty; you may do and receive favours. The businessman who pays the mafia a portion of his income can argue quite convincingly that he never killed or robbed anyone. The lawyers, the accountants, the employees of bosses, can all say that they never heard of any such thing. And what about the politicians who exchange favours for votes? The late Giulio Andreotti, a devout Catholic, and the living Silvio Berlusconi, who isn’t, were too big to be called mafiosi; but they definitely benefited from what might be called mutual help. The Mafia is as much a state of mind as a group of men, and it is that state of mind that must change – and, thanks to God and many brave men and women, is in fact changing.

  11. I have absolutely horrible news, which shows what the Pope and the healthy forces within the Church are up against. A few days ago, in the town of Oppido Mamertino, the procession of the Blessed Virgin was deliberately halted before the house of the local boss – a man with the ridiculous name of Peppe Mazzagatti (“Joe the Cat-Killer”) – in a sign of homage. The local Carabinieri walked away in protest, but everyone else, beginning with the mayor and the parish priest, took part in this sacrilege quite happily. And this was done in spite of the explicit order of the priest’s own bishop, who had given detailed directions as to how processions were to take part, including NO STOPPING BEFORE ANY PRIVATE HOUSE. These people think the boss is not only more powerful than the State, but more powerful than the Pope too. And what the priest must think of his own duty of obedience to his bishop is best left unsaid.
    Here is an Italian article describing the horror: http://www.ilquotidianodellacalabria.it/news/cronache/727364/La-statua-della-Madonna-fa-l.html#.U7j1Qbf0ifQ.facebook
    “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, then all the children of Zion must run to the hills.”

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