The crime syndicates known as the Mafia may believe they’re above civil law. But they got a rude awakening this month from a key spiritual leader.
During a trip to southern Italy, Pope Francis warned that those involved in “the adoration of evil” are subject to God’s law even more than man’s law. The rebuke was triggered by the murder of a 3-year-old boy in Calabria in a mob hit that had targeted his grandfather. The killing infuriated the nation.
The Pope said that those who pose as pious Catholics on Sunday while engaging in murder, extortion, human trafficking, and other heinous acts the rest of the week had excommunicated themselves from the church. He left no wiggle room for mobsters who believe that donations to church coffers and charities will redeem their evil deeds.
It was a much-needed reiteration of basic church teaching — that lip service to God is an abomination if your deeds are evil. Pope Francis isn’t the first modern pontiff to confront the mob, but he is the first to cite excommunication. It will be up to the priests who give Holy Communion to urge criminals in the pews to search their consciences.