Pope Francis announced Saturday that Italian Mafia members are excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
“Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the Mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated," Francis said.
The announcement came during a one-day visit to Calabria, in southern Italy, and was specifically targeted to the Ndrangheta, a local mafia that the Pope called “an adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”
The announcement will make an impact in southern Italy, where the Mafia has tried to portray themselves as religious Catholic men.
“They must be told, No!” the Pope said to a crowd of more than 100,000 in Piana di Sibari, Calabria, for Mass.
Also during his visit, the Pope met with relatives of a 3-year-old boy who was killed during an alleged Mafia shooting. Nicola Campolongo was with his grandfather when they were both shot and their bodies burned in a car in January.
Pope Francis called the death “unprecedented.”
"The strong will of Pope Francis, aiming to disrupt the gangrene power centers, puts him at risk. He disturbs the Mafia very much," Nicola Gratteri, an anti-mob prosecutor in Calabria, told CNN in November.
Publication date: June 23, 2014