I have previously expressed my admiration for Pope Francis and his extraordinary reforms of the Catholic Church. As someone of Sicilian descent, that admiration has grown even further today after reading the Pope decision to excommunicate Italian Mafia members. On Saturday, the Pope declared “Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the Mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated.”
As someone who is half Sicilian and was raised Catholic, I have always recoiled at how Mafia figures and families continue to portray themselves as religious people while engaging in every possible mortal sin. It is particularly galling to hear the secret oath invoke damnation if the member breaks Omertà, or code of silence.
The Pope singled out the Southern Italian mafia known as “Ndrangheta” as an example of “the adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.” The Ndrangheta is estimated to make an annual 53 billion euros.
The Pope warned mafia leaders that “hell … awaits you if you continue on this road.”
Bravo, Papa, Bravo.