Pope in Sicily to honor priest killed by mafia
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,