Pope Francis against Mafia? Holy Father urges people to fight organized crime, World News
Pope Francis on Sunday urged people to fight organized crime such as “mafias”. He warned criminals were using the coronavirus pandemic to their own advantage.
“The mafias are present in various parts of the world and, taking advantage of the pandemic, they are enriching themselves through corruption,” Francis said during his speech on Sunday noon, the day Italy remembers the victims of organized crime .
“These structures of sin, mafia structures, are against the gospel and confuse idolatry with faith,” added the Pope.
Italian police say crime clans are using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to gain people’s favor. Mafias provide loans and food to poor families facing financial ruin. A mob loan demanding exorbitant interest rates is bailing out businesses hit by the pandemic, police say.
In December, the Paris-based Interpol police coordination issued a global alert warning that organized crime networks were targeting COVID-19 vaccines. In March, South African police seized hundreds of fake vaccines and arrested four suspects.
In Italy, many members of organized crime see themselves as part of a sect-like religious group, invoking the help of saints and using religious figurines or statues in initiation rites.
The southern town of Oppido Mamertina made headlines in 2014 when locals carrying a statue of the Madonna diverted the route of a procession to stop at a mafia boss and tilted the statue slightly as to kneel down in respect.
“Today, let us remember all the victims and renew our commitment against the mafias,” François said.
(With Reuters entries)