ROME — Pope Francis called out the Mafia Sunday for enriching themselves through corruption during the coronavirus pandemic.
Today in Italy “we celebrate the Day of remembrance and commitment in memory of the innocent victims of the mafia,” the pope said following his weekly Angelus prayer. “The Mafia are present in various parts of the world and, exploiting the pandemic; they are enriching themselves through corruption.”
“Saint John Paul II denounced their ‘culture of death,’ and Benedict XVI condemned them as ‘ways of death,” the pontiff added.
“These structures of sin, Mafia structures, contrary to Christ’s Gospel, exchange faith with idolatry,” he said. “Today let us remember all the victims and let us renew our commitment against the Mafia.”
As his predecessors did before him, Francis has condemned the mafia in the severest of terms, saying in 2014 that their members engage in the “the adoration of evil” and are therefore “excommunicated.”
“Those who follow this evil path in life, such as members of the Mafia, are not in communion with God; they are excommunicated!” the pope said during a trip to Cassano allo Ionio in Italy’s southern Calabria region.
“This evil must be fought; it must be cast out! One must say ‘no’ to it!” he said, calling the local crime organization, the ‘Ndrangheta, a manifestation of the “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good” and said the Church would fight to combat organized crime.
“Our kids demand it, our youth, in need of hope, demand it. Faith can help empower us to respond to these needs,” he said.
The following year, the pope compared abortionists to members of the Mafia, insisting they follow the code of the Mafia, who “take out” a person when he gets in their way.
“No problem is solved by taking out a person. Never, ever. That is the code of the Mafia: ‘There’s a problem, let’s take this guy out.’ Never,” Francis said.
“The degree of progress of a civilization is measured by its ability to protect life, especially in its most fragile stages,” he said.