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Pope Francis has launched an attack on the Italian mafia, saying that mobsters adore evil and are excommunicated.
Speaking at the end of a day trip to Calabria in southern Italy on Saturday, home to the ‘Ndrangheta, a Mafia-type criminal organisation, Francis said that mobsters had contempt for the common good and must be stopped.
“This evil must be fought, must be expelled. It must be told no,” he said.
He urged the Church to expend itself and commit to turning people away from organised crime.
“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,” he added, in one of the strongest condemnations of Mafiosi since Saint John Paul II spoke out against the Sicilian Mafia in 1993.
In March Pope Francis said that mobsters must convert or go to hell, during an emotional address to victims of gang violence at a vigil in Rome.
During the 12-hour pastoral visit he also addressed inmates and staff at the district prison of Castrovillari and met with priests from the Diocese of Cassano all’Jonio.
Above: Pope Francis gives homily as he celebrates Mass in Italian town of Sibari Photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring