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Mafia members are not in communion with God or the Church, Pope declares

Scenes from an outdoor Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in  Sibari in the Italian region of Calabria on Saturday evening. In the Sunday Vigil Mass, Pope Francis denounced members of the Mafia as "excommunicated" and "not in communion with God."
Scenes from an outdoor Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Sibari in the Italian region of Calabria on Saturday evening. In the Sunday Vigil Mass, Pope Francis denounced members of the Mafia as "excommunicated" and "not in communion with God."
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In a Vigil Mass for Sunday celebrated on Saturday evening during a pastoral visit to the Calabria region of Italy, Pope Francis slammed members of the Mafia, or La Costa Nostra, as those who adore evil rather than adore the Lord Jesus Christ. “When adoration of the Lord is substituted by adoration of money, the road to sin opens to personal interest ... When one does not adore the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence,” Pope Francis preached at an outdoor Mass in the small Calabrian town of Sibari. The Pope reminded the congregation that mob members are excommunicated laetae sententiae, in a warning which may be seen to be directed at members of the clergy who might administer the sacraments to known participants in organized crime. They are “not in communion with God, they are excommunicated," reminded the Pope.

“And, for this faith, we renounce Satan and all of his temptations; we renounce the idols of money, vanity, pride and power. We, Christians, do not want to adore anything or anyone in this world except Jesus Christ, who is present in the Holy Eucharist,” the Pontiff preached. Christians adore God, who is love, and who, in Jesus Christ "has given himself for us, who has offered himself on the cross for the expiation of our sins and by the power of this love is risen and lives in the Church.” The Holy Father also said that the Christian who adores Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament will live a life rooted in charity. “The people that adores God in the Eucharist is the people that walks in charity,” said the Pope.“The Lord Jesus does not cease to raise up gestures of charity in his people who are journeying!”

“You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, religious, catechists, children, the elderly, and young people walk together, one alongside the other, supporting one another, helping one another, loving one another as brothers, especially in moments of difficulty.”