Pope Francis has strongly condemned the ‛Ndrangheta during a visit to the powerful criminal organisation’s heartland in Calabria.
During a day-long trip to the southern Italian region, the Pope said mobsters were “adorers of evil” and were excommunicated.
Speaking at Mass in Piana di Sibari, he said: “When adoration of the Lord is substituted by adoration of money, the road to sin opens to personal interest… When one does not adore the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence. Your land, which so beautiful, knows the signs of the consequences of this sin.
“The ‛Ndrangheta is this: adoration of evil and contempt of the common good. This evil must be fought, must be expelled. It must be told no. The Church, which is so committed to educating consciences, must always expend itself even more so that good can prevail. Our children ask this of us. Our young people ask this of us, they, who need hope. To be able to respond to this demands, faith can help us. Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.”
Earlier in the day Francis met the father of Nicola Campolongo, a three-year-old who was shot dead in January, allegedly by the ‘Ndrangheta.
“Never again should a child suffer so much,” the Pope reportedly said. “I always pray for him, don’t despair.”
The Pontiff’s first stop of the day was the Rosetta Sisca Penitentiary in Castrovillari. He asked detainees to pray for him, saying: “I also make mistakes and must do penance.”
He told the clergy: “I encourage you in your work with families and for the family. It is a work that the Lord asks us to do in a particular way at this time, which is a difficult time, both for the family as institution and for families because of the crisis. But precisely when the time is difficult, God makes His closeness felt, His grace, the prophetic force of His Word. And we are called to be witnesses, mediators of this closeness to families and of this prophetic force for the family.”
Full text of the Pope’s homily at Mass in Piana di Sibari.
Full text of the Pope’s discourse to detainees in Rosetta Sisca Penitentiary.
Full text of the Pope’s address to Calabrian priests.
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