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Pope Francis speaks against mafia at vigil for victims of organized crime

Pope Francis spoke strongly against the lifestyle of mobsters at a vigil held for those killed by the Italian mafia. According to the Telegraph on March 21, the pope warned mobsters that their life after this one would be spent in hell if they did not convert and repent.

ope Francis waves to the faithful as he holds his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on March 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph by saying the saint is a model for all fathers and educators.
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The vigil was held for the 842 people who have had their lives taken by the Italian mafia since 1893. After each name was read off, Pope Francis began his plea.

As well as warning that mobsters will not be able to take their material goods with them, including their blood-stained money and power, he added, “This life that you live will not give you joy or happiness.” He implored them to think of their mothers and fathers and to let that motivate them to convert before they “end up in hell.”

Of the 842 people killed, Francis gave special attention to the 3-year-old who was fatally shot by mafia gunmen in southern Italy on Monday.

After his comments, Francis wore a garment once worn by Father Giuseppe Diana, an Italian priest who was killed by the mafia in 1994.

Father Don Ciotti, who founded an organization to fight the mafia, noted that in the past, The Church has not always given victims of organized crime attention, nor have they always addressed organized crime itself.