Pope Francis has ‘excommunicated’ Italy’s mafia from the church — the first time any pontiff has done so publicly.
Pope Francis has issued the strongest attack on organised crime groups by a pontiff in two decades, accusing them of practising the “the adoration of evil” and saying mafiosi (members of the mafia) are excommunicated. It was the first time a pope had used the word ‘excommunication’ — a total cutoff from the Church — in direct reference to members of organised crime.
“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 on June 21 before hundreds of thousands of people in one of Italy’s most crime-infested areas.
“This evil must be fought against, it must be pushed aside. We must say no to it,” he told the cheering crowd. “Our children are asking for it, our young people are asking for it. They are in need of hope and faith can help respond to this need.”
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