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Pope: Mafia Members Now Excommunicated From Catholic Church

Image: Pope: Mafia Members Now Excommunicated From Catholic Church

By    |   Monday, 23 Jun 2014 09:11 AM

Denouncing the drug-trafficking mob `Ndrangheta for what he called its "adoration of evil and contempt for the common good," Pope Francis said that all mafia members are excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

The pope traveled on Saturday to the 'Ndrangheta's stronghold of Calabria to visit the family of a 3-year-old boy killed from a stray bullet in the middle of a mob gun fight in January, according to USA Today. Nicola "Coco" Campolongo and his grandfather were hit by stray bullets and killed in the incident involving the 'Ndrangheta.

"Those who go down the evil path, as the Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated," Pope Francis said.

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Vatican spokesman Rev. Ciro Benedettini told The Guardian that Pope Francis' speech did not constitute a formal overarching decree of canon (church) law, which is a formal legal process. Benedettini said he was sending a message to mobsters that they had effectively excommunicated themselves because their activities "had distanced themselves from God through their criminal actions."

Pope Francis addressed about 200 people in a prison at Castrovillari and then talked privately with the father and two grandmothers of the slain child.

"May children never again have to suffer in this way," Benedettini told USA Today that Pope Francis told the father of the three-year-old. "The two grandmothers were weeping like fountains."

'Ndrangheta have expressed its unhappiness with Pope Francis's reform efforts and has become a target for the criminal organization, anti-mob prosecutor Nicola Gratteri revealed.

"For many years, the mob has laundered money and made investments with the complicity of the church," Gratteri said, pointing out recently changes have made those activities more complex.

The church has had a dual history in the Calabria region when it comes to the mob and its activities, noted The Guardian. The church's bishop in the area, Nunzio Galantino, has taken a stern stand against organized crime activities while some priests in the region have helped 'Ndrangheta where the crime syndicate has a stronger foothold.

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Denouncing the drug-trafficking mob `Ndrangheta for what he called its "adoration of evil and contempt for the common good," Pope Francis said that all mafia members are excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
pope, mafia, members, excommunicated
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2014-11-23
Monday, 23 Jun 2014 09:11 AM
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