National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

'Ndrangheta

Why is Pope Francis spending so much time going after the Mafia?

It began with the death of an innocent 3-year-old boy who burned to death in his grandfather's car in a Mafia ambush in January. Pope Francis was so shaken by the death of Nicola "Coco" Campolongo that he spoke out against the ferocity of the crime and those behind it.

But he didn't stop there. In June, the outspoken pontiff traveled to the southern Italian town where the murder took place and accused Mafia members of pursuing the "adoration of evil." Then he went one step further.

Religious procession past Mafia boss' home irks Italy's Catholic clergy

Only two weeks after Pope Francis announced he was excommunicating the Mafia, a religious procession in southern Italy has provoked uproar after paying homage to a convicted mobster.

Catholic bishops condemned the detour of the traditional procession, which carried a statue of the Madonna past the house of 82-year-old Peppe Mazzagatti, a Mafia boss serving a life sentence under house arrest.

Italian archbishop calls for 10-year ban on godparents to stop Mafia infiltration

After a pledge by Pope Francis to "excommunicate" mobsters from the Catholic Church, an archbishop in southern Italy has proposed a 10-year ban on naming godparents at baptisms and confirmations as a way to stop the mafia from spreading its influence.

Msgr. Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, the archbishop of Reggio Calabria, wrote to Francis some time ago with his suggestion "to prevent the exploitation of the church," in particular by the powerful Calabrian mafia known as 'Ndrangheta, and discussed his proposal with the pope at the Vatican last weekend.

Prosecutor warns of a mafia threat against Pope Francis

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The Vatican on Friday downplayed reported mob threats against Pope Francis, just two days after a high-profile anti-mafia prosecutor said Francis could be a target from the 'Ndrangheta mafia organization in southern Italy.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's chief spokesman, told reporters Friday that the Vatican was "extremely calm" regarding a possible mob threat against the pope.

"There is absolutely no reason for concern, no need to feed alarmism," Lombardi said.

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