Pope Francis announced over the weekend that Italian Mafia members have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis Excommunicates Mafia

The Pope was speaking at an outdoor Mass in Piana di Sibari, Calabria when he made the impromptu remarks.

"Those who in their lives follow this path of evil, as mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated," Pope Francis said before tens of thousands of people. "This evil must be fought against, it must be pushed aside. We must say no to it."

The Pope also took the opportunity to specifically call out the Calabria-based international crime organization ‘Ndrangheta, calling it "adoration of evil and contempt of the common good.”

The Calabria Mafia members attempt to paint themselves as religious men who are in good standing with the Catholic Church, which helps them hold on to their credibility with deeply religious locals. Another part of the Mafia’s strategy is recruiting the region’s disillusioned youth that are suffering with a 56% unemployment rate.

As for the recruitment of young people Pope Francis said, “[The Mafia] must be told, no!”

By speaking out publically against the Mafia, Pope Francis will draw their ire, potentially putting himself in danger, according to a Calabrian lawyer. “The strong will of Pope Francis, aiming to disrupt the gangrene power centers, puts him at risk,” prosecutor Nicola Gratteri told CNN in September. “He disturbs the Mafia very much."


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