For the last 20 years, the Vatican’s stance on the Italy’s mafia has been ambiguous. Not any more.
Speaking in Rome, Italy, today at a ceremony in remembrance of the victims of the mafia, Pope Francis called upon mafia members to ‘c0nvert’ and change their ways and to stop harming others. He also stated that there was still time for them to avoid ending up in hell.
This is a historic moment for Italy where collusion between organised crime and the Roman Catholic Church has long been suspected.
Outright condemnation of the mafia by the Roman Catholic church until now had been extraordinarily rare. Indeed, the last time a Pope attacked Italy’s mob was back in 1994 when Pope John Paul II made his culture of death speech.
Today, for the first time in 20 years, the message from the Pope was crystal clear: the mafia is evil.
This could be a major turning point for Italy where organised crime tends to believe it has a God given right to operate, even if Pope John Paul II’s appeal did not make much difference.
The reaction of Italy’s mafias to such a strong stance on the part of the current Pope may be violent.
With thanks to writer John Dickie, the writer of several books on Italy’s mafia phenomenon, for drawing my attention to Pope John Paul II’s speech.
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