June 21st, 2014
02:04 PM ET

Pope excommunicates Italian mobsters

By Delia Gallagher, CNN

(CNN) - Using his strongest language to date, Pope Francis told Italian Mafia members Saturday that they are excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

“Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the Mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated," Francis said.

It is the first time a Pope has spoken of excommunication for the Mafia.

Excommunication, which excludes Catholics from the church, can be imposed by church authorities or incurred automatically for certain grave offenses.

The Pope’s remarks will resonate strongly in this part of southern Italy, where the Mafia attempt to portray themselves as upstanding religious men in good rapport with the Catholic Church, in order to maintain local credibility.

During a one-day visit to Calabria, in southern Italy, the Pope denounced the local mafia, called ‘Ndrangheta, as an example of “the adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

According to reports, ‘Ndrangheta is one of the wealthiest international crime organizations, with an annual turnover of 53 billion euros, much of it from the global cocaine trade.

Calabria also suffers from 56% youth unemployment, which the Mafia exploits with promises of jobs for disillusioned young people.

“They must be told, No!” the Pope said to a crowd of over 100,000 gathered in Piana di Sibari, Calabria, for an outdoor Mass.

Prosecutor: Pope faces threat from the mafia

Earlier during his visit, Pope Francis met with relatives of a 3-year-old boy, Nicola Campolongo, who was the victim of an alleged Mafia hit in January. Nicknamed Coco, the boy was with his grandfather when they were both shot and their bodies subsequently burned in a car.

It is not the first time the Pope has spoken out against the Mafia. In March in Rome at a meeting with families of victims, the Pope called directly on Mafia bosses to repent, saying "hell ... awaits you if you continue on this road.”

Some anti-mafia prosecutors have worried that mobsters may target Pope Francis, who is reforming the Vatican, including its scandal-scarred bank, the Institute for Religious Works.

"The strong will of Pope Francis, aiming to disrupt the gangrene power centers, puts him at risk. He disturbs the Mafia very much," Nicola Gratteri, an anti-mob prosecutor in Calabria, told CNN in November.

(CNN's Daniel Burke contributed to this report.) 

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (743 Responses)
  1. rrbb333

    You are actully like the other trolls...Please condenm it please...

    I condemn it.

    "you are so nieve" ....there is no answer for you, only "the catholic church is an evil crimnal cult"

    June 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Okay, so you don't support the abuse but yet you still pay heed to the church, thus inadvertently supporting it.
      You can spout all you wish about all the good the church does but yet you can get all of that without a church and until the church turns over the peds and stops the conspiracy crap of hiding them, they don't deserve the recognition they are given.
      Abuse happens in all walks of life but the RCC cover it up, whereas other groups will be happy to see those people removed from society.
      Stop your whining when the reality is that you started this whole thing out by attacking another person.
      That much anger must eat you up...seek help.

      June 27, 2014 at 7:48 am |
      • rrbb333

        "But the RCC Covered it up, other organization where glad to see people removed"

        Jewish community in NY – abused chldren and covered it up – huffington post
        Scout groups in 4 countries covered up abuse ....had to pay millions in compensation
        schools in the USA "much worse then Catholics" in cover up and abuse...cbs news
        cyril smith abused children for years as a british MP...the libreal party covered it up...recommended him for knighthood

        etc. etc. etc....you should educate yourself before you post about catholic abuse.

        June 27, 2014 at 8:58 am |
      • rrbb333

        and here is the really ironic one - the UN peacekeepers abusing those they are suppose to protect..."how much more abuse will the UN ignore –Globe and Mail Toronto...

        The same UN that condemns the Church

        June 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
  2. rrbb333

    You said this....."Apparently, children don't matter to rrbb333. He keeps defending the pedophiles"
    "Truth" said...."he is a priest...probably has something to hide"
    Fact – "Priest and pedo protector..."

    You ask to address the issues, when I do you attack with this filth.

    I call out a troll who post anti catholic posts for years and you say "proof it pedo protector"
    I prove it and you say. "Listen, say he IS a troll. So?"

    Then this beauty..."rrbb333 you are not furthering the conversation"

    Disgusting internet garbage from people looking for trouble.

    Agains just stop please.

    June 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
    • igaftr

      Considering the fact that there WAS a conspiracy, that is still being covered up today, the RCC has earned their reputation.

      Considering the nature of the crimes, it is clear the RCC protected THEIR interests over the children.

      Perhaps over time the RCC will gain their credibility, but considering this is just the latest in a long, long line of corruption, why are you so surprised that it gets brought up?

      Would you rather we bring up the Reichsconcordat, or the relationship with Napolean?
      The RCC has given MANY MANY reason to question their morality

      June 26, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
  3. joeyy1


    June 26, 2014 at 9:52 am |
  4. aw8tng2advt

    Go, Pope! The Italian governement should take this cue from the Vatican and change its policy on the inclusion of illegal activities in the Italian GDP: http://on.rt.com/j0rqpt . Whatever is included is necessarily endorsed, whether it be mobsters or "marriage equality". Glad to see the Catholic Church understands this concept. Unfortunatel that so many mainline protestant denominations don't.

    June 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
  5. igaftr

    In a surprising turn of events, the pope recanted and claimed that it was LOBSTERS he excommunicated, not mobsters.
    "I made the error and recant of my own free will. I hear the Italian mobsters simply got a bad name, and are actually a bunch of nice guys" the pope said, though he looked visibly shaken.

    June 25, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  6. ugetthefacts

    what has the pope done to help the children abused by the cover ups? Oops, nothing. Instead he judges others, deflects.

    June 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
    • rrbb333

      This is how the catholic popes, cardinals and bishops behave. Yes, and they were recently caught money laundering again.

      this tread

is how the catholic popes, cardinals and bishops behave. Yes, and they were
recently caught money laundering again.



This is how the catholic popes, cardinals and bishops behave. Yes, and they were recently caught money laundering again. 


      Spamming multiple screen name Troll on CNN....

      June 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
      • rrbb333

        When confronted lied... said sarcastically..ya right the catholic church is so bad "No way anyone else could have anything negative to say."

        Can't post under any of those names anymore when you know you are a liar...

        bts time stamp and page for the 1st comment on this tread..... http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/06/21/pope-excommunicates-mafia-members/comment-page-5/#comments June 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        June 24, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
      • ugetthefacts

        Maybe you should show us proof where the pope has done something to help the many victims of abuse from the cover ups. Show me where he did the right thing by setting the example to others on caring for those who are mentally ill and suffering today due to the cover ups.

        That would be the correct and mature response. Avoiding the answer to this with rantings only helps prove my point.

        June 25, 2014 at 7:28 am |
      • ugetthefacts

        You do understand that in order to troll with different handles, the requirement would be multiple handles within the same articles. Odd that only this handle I am using is within this entire article. Your post is childish and silly.

        Now respond to the post, not deflect. How has the pope (or vatican) set the example for caring for those who are suffering today from the illness caused by the cover ups, denial of help?

        It's really a simple question, honesty is all that is required to answer.

        June 25, 2014 at 7:37 am |
        • rrbb333

          You knew that you post spam on multiple screen names but you let people here accuse me of lying...you actually said to another poster "I agree with you according to rrbb is must be you". That is the way you operate. You paint people as bad even when you know it's not true just like you did me..what kind of a person does that??? And you are still rationalizing!!! Oh and you lied again...you have posted on the same thread as two people and you know it....WOW...years of posting anti catholic crab all as a liar.....you are actually pathetic....

          June 25, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • ugetthefacts

          Unable to answer.. Guess you like to play games. bet your jesus and god must love you

          June 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • ugetthefacts

          you are not a very good person

          June 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • rrbb333

          "you are not a very good person" – wow, you called me childish, were you crying when you wrote that?

          If you lie, deceive and cover up you lie with more deceit, what do you expect?

          Respond???I have given you answer after answer about issues that you bring up (on stories that have nothing at all to do about abuse)....you are not interested in answers...you want everyone who responses to you to say "The Catholic Church is an criminal, pedophile infested cult" and then to call me a pedophile priest...are you kidding me????. Vile comments. Sorry, not responding to anything you say...only going to call out your lying every time. Have some understanding of the good people working for change and the poor in the Catholic Church stop making bigoted remarks about those people...

          June 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      • rrbb333

        correction you actually said: "I agree with you according to rrbb I must be you"

        June 25, 2014 at 11:20 am |
      • rrbb333

        "you are not a very good person" – wow, you called me childish, were you crying when you wrote that? – un-call for comment ....my apologies....the rest i am good with.

        June 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  7. Science Works


    then he can cast outthee demons.

    June 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
  8. Science Works

    Maybe the pope should have an exorcism also the cast out the demons as he believes that nonsense no ?

    June 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.