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Vatican group considers excommunicating Mafia members

Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano being escorted by a black-hooded police officer in 2006. (AP)

A Vatican consultation group is to consider initiatives to bolster the fight against corruption and organised crime, including looking at the possibility of excommunicating members of the Mafia and other criminal organisations.

The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development published a paper highlighting anti-corruption proposals that came out of the Vatican’s first “International Debate on Corruption”.

Among the proposals made by the consultation group was the “development of a global response – through bishops’ conferences and local churches” and “the excommunication of the Mafia and other similar criminal organisations and… the prospect of excommunication for corruption”.

Popes and bishops, especially in Italy, have long warned members of the Mafia that by committing grave sins, they have, in effect, excommunicated themselves from the Church.

In a June 2014 visit to Sibari, in Italy’s Calabria region, Pope Francis said that “those who follow the path of evil, like the Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God; they are excommunicated.”