Pope Francis’s stand on organized crime long overdue.

So the Pope has recently discovered that the mafia are evil. The Guardian reported last week that Pope Francis has taken on one of Italy’s most dangerous organised crime groups, calling the Ndrangheta crime group an example of “the adoration of evil.”

“‘Those who in their lives follow this path of evil, as mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated,’ he said in impromptu comments at a mass before hundreds of thousands of people .”

I am glad that this man has managed to figure this out, although the world itself came to this conclusion long before the leader of all Catholics put it together. The Roman Catholic Church has had a long history of being tolerant of such criminals and allowing them rites of passage (marriage, buria,l etc.). One commentator of life in Italy, Alex Roe, has made some interesting comments:

“In theory the Vatican should be constantly and highly critical of the mafia, or, for that matter, any other organisation which encourages human beings to harm one another. In practice, however, this does not seem to be the case. The Vatican does make disgruntled noises on the mafia front in Italy from time to time, but the criticism is by no means constant.

This reluctance of the Vatican to speak out openly against the mafia is something which has always struck me as being faintly odd about Italy.”

Mr. Roe also talked about a crusading priest who bravely spoke out about the mafia:

“For his pains, this priest, Don Pepino Diana was executed by the camorra mafia. While the execution did not do the camorra’s public image any favours, what struck me about the Don Peppino Diana affair was that he appeared to be a lone crusader.

For reasons unknown, the Vatican seemed to have left its representative to his own fate. Support from Rome appeared to be virtually zero.”

Diana is to be commended for trying to do the right thing. Why was he left to swing in the wind? Perhaps the Roman Catholic Church has been doing business with the mafia through entities like the Vatican bank? Or perhaps high-up officials know that they are not much better than those in organized crime, so there is no high moral ground from which to pontificate. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future on this subject though.

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