By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/23/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Comforting the family members whose loved ones were killed as a result of organized crime, Pope Francis launched a scathing attack on the mafia. He warned gangsters that they will go to hell unless they repent and stop doing evil.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can't bring it with you to your next life. Repent," the pope declared.
The Pope has spoken out frequently about the evils of corruption. He wrote a booklet on the subject in 2005 when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.
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Organized by a citizens' group called Libera, the meeting near Rome last week was aimed at demonstrating the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to organized crime, rejecting historic ties with mafia bosses claiming to be good Catholics.
As the names of those murdered were read out, the Pope listened, deep in somber thought. The vigil was filled with those who have suffered at the hands of the mafia, including people whose family members and loved ones had been killed.
After expressing solidarity with the 842 people at the vigil, he said that he could not leave the service without addressing those not present: The "protagonists" of mafia violence.
"This life that you live now won't give you pleasure. It won't give you joy or happiness," he said.
"There's still time to not end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path."
According to various sources, there is a long list of brave priests in Italy who have stood up to the mafia, and some have paid with lives.
But he says that the wider Church has been accused of not doing enough to confront the gangsters. Anti-mafia activists hope that the Pope's words are a signal that he is on their side.
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