Albania blood feuds warning27 September 2012
Albania's Catholic hierarchy have warned they will excommunicate anyone involved in traditional "gjakmarrja", or blood feuds, after an increase in retaliation killings.
"People kill without hesitation in this bloody, barbaric system of revenge, often justifying their actions from a centuries-old tradition," Archbishop Angelo Massafra of Shkoder told a news conference last week, introducing a pastoral letter read out in all Catholic parishes last weekend.
He added: "Every person of the Catholic faith who kills for motives of vendetta will be excommunicated" he said, and "they will be unable to participate in church services, attend confession, receive communion or be buried in a church cemetery".
These "honour killings" have been especially prevalent in largely Catholic northern Albania.
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