Pope in Si­cily to honor priest killed by mafia

Manila Times - - World -

PALERMO, Italy: Pope Fran­cis vis­ited the Ital­ian is­land of Si­cily on Satur­day (Sun­day in Manila) to pay homage to a priest mur­dered by

- ing to save young­sters in poor neigh­bor­hoods from fall­ing into their hands.

The Ar­gen­tinean pon­tiff’s visit will be brief but is part of a wider cam­paign he has been wag­ing against or­ga­nized crime.

He is ex­pected to ar­rive in Pal-

and will say mass, then head to the Palermo parish where Fa­ther

re­turns to Rome in the early evening.

- tem­ber 15, 1993, his 56th birth­day. He is said to have ut­tered his last words to his killer, “I’ve been

the doorstep of his mod­est home.

His as­sas­si­na­tion came at a time when Italy was al­ready trauma-

judges Gio­vanni Fal­cone and Paolo Borsellino.

In 2012 Fran­cis’ pre­de­ces­sor The fol­low­ing year he was beati-

and 750 priests as well as the Ital­ian in­te­rior and jus­tice min­is­ters.

Be­at­i­fi­ca­tion is the first step on the path to Ro­man Catholic saint­hood.

Since be­com­ing pope in 2013, Fran­cis has openly con­fronted the

- tic­ing mem­bers of Catholic parishes —and called on the faith­ful to stop all col­lab­o­ra­tion with them.

The pon­tiff has al­ready vis­ited Naples and Cal­abria, other Cosa Nos­tra hotspots in Italy’s south.

In 2015 in Naples, the no­to­ri­ous fief­dom of the coun­try’s old­est or­ga­nized crime syndicate the Camorra, he con­demned those “who ex­ploit and cor­rupt young peo­ple, the poor

“Cor­rup­tion stinks! And a cor­rupt so­ci­ety stinks. A Chris­tian who al­lows cor­rup­tion to en­ter

pro­claimed in an an­gry speech.

In Cal­abria, he called on Catholics to com­bat the Cal­abrian mob, known as the ‘Ndrangheta.

“Those who in their lives fol­low the pope said dur­ing his Cal­abria

he de­clared to thun­der­ous ap­plause from the 100,000 peo­ple who came to hear him.

Ex­com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the sever­est penalty for Catholics, ban­ish­ing them from the spir­i­tual life and sacra­ments of the church.

Lo­cal bish­ops have al­ready

but the Vat­i­can is con­sid­er­ing cre­at­ing a new doc­trine ex­com­mu­ni­cat­ing or­ga­nized crime group mem­bers world­wide.

The pope has of­ten de­nounced the “money stained with blood,

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