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'Brothers and sisters' of the Mafia, repent, pope says in Sicily

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'Brothers and sisters' of the Mafia, repent, pope says in Sicily

By Philip Pullella

 

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Pope Francis is greeted by the faithful as he arrives in the Sicilian village of Piazza Armerina, Italy, September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

 

PALERMO (Reuters) - Pope Francis appealed to Sicily's Mafia on Saturday to abandon a life of crime and violence, saying the island needed "men and women of love, not men and women 'of honour,'" using the term mobsters apply to themselves.

 

Francis, in the Sicilian capital, said organised crime members - many of whom go to church and worship openly - "cannot believe in God and be Mafiosi" at the same time. In his appeal, he referred to them as "dear brothers and sisters".

 

He visited Palermo to commemorate Father Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi, a priest shot dead by Mafia hit men in 1993 because he challenged the organisation's control over one of the city's toughest neighbourhoods.

 

Puglisi was killed on his 56th birthday during a bloody Mafia offensive against the state and anyone else who threatened the group's existence. Magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were killed by bombs in Palermo in 1992.

 

"A person who is a Mafioso does not live as a Christian because with his life he blasphemes against the name of God," Francis said in the sermon of a Mass from some 80,000 people in the port area of the Sicilian capital.

 

The Catholic Church in southern Italy has had a chequered history of relations with the mob. Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini, who was archbishop of Palermo from 1945-1967, denied the Mafia's existence, considering communism the Church's biggest threat.

 

"I say to Mafiosi: Change, brothers and sisters! Stop thinking about yourselves and your money ... Convert yourselves to the real God, Jesus Christ, dear brothers and sisters," he said in his dockside sermon.

 

"I say to you, Mafiosi, if you don't do this, your very life will be lost and that will be your greatest defeat," he said.

 

"Today, we need men and women of love, not men and women of honour; men and women of service, not of oppression."

 

Many members of organised crime groups in Italy, such as Sicily's Cosa Nostra and Calabria's Ndrangheta, see themselves as part of a religious, cult-like group, invoking the help of saints for their activities.

 

Particularly in smaller towns and cities in the south, they take part in Catholic sacraments and in some cases have also found complicity by some churchmen.

 

Puglisi refused to play along. With little support by the Church hierarchy in Sicily, he preached against the Mafia from the pulpit of his church in the rough Brancaccio neighbourhood, then controlled by the Graviano family.

 

He helped young people in an area with high unemployment avoid the snare of the Mafia, asked parishioners to help police investigations, refused donations from mobsters and banned them from joining traditional religious street processions.

 

Puglisi's murder was ordered by local bosses Filippo and Giuseppe Graviano. The bothers and four men who planned or carried out the killing were convicted in 1998. All but one received life sentences.

 

One of the killers, who later turned state's evidence, said that as Puglisi was dying he said: "I've been expecting you".

 

In 2012, former Pope Benedict decreed that Puglisi died as a martyr in "hatred of the faith," and ordered that he be beatified, the last step before sainthood in the Church.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-09-15

 

 

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1 hour ago, fanjita said:

Can't stand religion.  

what ????

 

it is the most sane peaceful thing that stupid people ever thought of

 

Mary was a virgin - can you imagine the headline on sky news tomorrow, it's an April 1st spoof that isn't even good

 

I have no issue with people wanting to believe in something but when it interferes with me then I have a serious problem

 

Domination of women and young girls - what happened to wining and dining and trying to make an impression - oh you don't have to bother with that when you maintain control and excuse it for some sick belief that somehow excuses your right to treat women like they are subhuman 

 

It's all pretty sick really, we now have mosques all over the west preaching that western values (laws) are destroying Islam……………….I know the solution

 

If you don't like our western laws then …………….off back to where you came from 

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Dear Mafia guys

 

Bring loads of your money to the Vatican, say 50 hail marys, cross yourself 50 times and you will be free of Sin.

Come back and repeat every  2

years.

In the meantime we'll form a few discussion groups to see if we can do anything about our priests shagging your kids.

Edited by overherebc
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He should try cleaning up his own backyard (pedophile priests) before venturing out to condemn the laity. 

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For many years the different Popes have wanted to be the only MAFIA type organization in Italy..If one was counting you might find out that the church has been more responsible for more death then the Mafia Also I have never heard of the Mafia raping and molesting children.

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Usually the name Borgia pops up as being the worst of the bunch but it seems lately that a lot of what was written about them was penned by enemies trying to discredit them. Spanish/Italian family.

Who knows

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35 minutes ago, connda said:

He should try cleaning up his own backyard (pedophile priests) before venturing out to condemn the laity. 

 

Ha ha, I love that!!  The laity!  Yes, I suppose they are....

 

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The Catholic Church once had, in the days of the Inquisition, the curious habit of roasting people alive if they disagreed with the Padrone in the Vatican.

 

A bullet in the back of the head is a little more humane than the agony of being burnt at the stake.

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1 hour ago, connda said:

He should try cleaning up his own backyard (pedophile priests) before venturing out to condemn the laity. 

Great choice of WORD sir.

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9 hours ago, smedly said:

what ????

 

it is the most sane peaceful thing that stupid people ever thought of

 

Mary was a virgin - can you imagine the headline on sky news tomorrow, it's an April 1st spoof that isn't even good

 

I have no issue with people wanting to believe in something but when it interferes with me then I have a serious problem

 

Domination of women and young girls - what happened to wining and dining and trying to make an impression - oh you don't have to bother with that when you maintain control and excuse it for some sick belief that somehow excuses your right to treat women like they are subhuman 

 

It's all pretty sick really, we now have mosques all over the west preaching that western values (laws) are destroying Islam……………….I know the solution

 

If you don't like our western laws then …………….off back to where you came from 

Great first line sir

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BANGKOK 25 September 2018 09:51
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