Tags: Pope Francis | Holy Week | Pope Francis | procession | mafia bosses | italy

Vatican: Holy Week Procession Will No Longer Honor Mafia

By    |   Tuesday, 31 March 2015 11:29 AM

As Holy Week begins, Catholic dioceses in Italy's organized crime-ridden regions are following Pope Francis' admonitions to stop the practice of allowing Easter processions to stop in front of houses occupied by convicted crime bosses.

Archbishop Luigi Renzo of Mileto-Tropea-Nicotera issued a declaration on Palm Sunday, saying that "we need to stop making the statues protagonists in the criminal organizations," The Daily Beast is reporting.

He announced that the Holy Week procession will take a route that will completely avoid the homes of any known crime bosses. And that the religious statue carried in the procession will only make one stop — in front of the local hospital.

"There are many people whose lives have been ruined by the 'Ndrangheta," which is a local crime group, Renzo told The Beast. "But there are many others who couldn't live without the organization. They have always been welcome in the church, but the Holy Father has changed that."

Renzo met with local bishops in February to adopt rules for how local parishes must deal with organized crime and no longer offer forgiveness to members of the mafia, which allows them to think they can hide behind their faith.

Once the practice was revealed to Pope Francis when visiting Oppido Mamertina in Calabria in the summer and learning of other areas in Italy where processions bring statues by the homes of mafia heads, such as an 82-year-old 'Ndrangheta crime boss, the pontiff warned mobsters that they could no longer hide behind their faith and that they were no longer welcome in the church.

"The 'Ndrangheta is this: worship of evil and contempt for the common good. This evil must be fought until it goes away, you have to say no," Pope Francis said to local parishioners.

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

About two weeks ago, when visiting Scampia, outside of Naples, which is the heart of a heroin business ran by a Camorra crime offshoot, Pope Francis said that organized crime there had "the stench of a corpse."

In March 2014, the names of more than 800 alleged mafia crime victims were read at a ceremony attended by Pope Francis, after which he admonished those who engage in organized crime.

"The life that you are living now will not give you pleasure or joy," he said.

"The power and money you have now from dirty business, and from mafia crimes, is blood-stained money, it is blood-stained power, and you won't be able to take it to the after world," he said.

"Repent. There's still time to not end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path," he added.

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As Holy Week begins, Catholic dioceses in Italy's organized crime-ridden regions are following Pope Francis' admonitions to stop the practice of allowing Easter processions to stop in front of houses occupied by convicted crime bosses.
Holy Week, Pope Francis, procession, mafia bosses, italy
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2015-29-31
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 11:29 AM
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