VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Crime families in Italy are not happy with Pope Francis and would hurt him if they could, said an Italian prosecutor who has spent years investigating organized crime and has written a book about the apparent Catholic devotion of mafia bosses.
“I’m not sure organized crime is in a position to do something, but they certainly are thinking about it,” said Nicola Gratteri, the assistant prosecutor of Italy’s Reggio Calabria region. “It could be dangerous.”
In his book “Acqua Santissima” (“Most Holy Water”), Gratteri argues that while organized crime and the church should be completely at odds, that is not always true. He said he has never been to an arrested mafia boss’ hideout that didn’t have holy pictures on the wall, and many of his investigations have led to the discovery of financial ties between the bosses and Catholic parishes or organizations.
“But things are starting to change,” he said in an interview Nov. 13 in the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
“This pope is on the right path,” he said. “He immediately sent important signals: He wears an iron (pectoral) cross and fights against luxury. He is consistent, credible and is aiming for a complete cleanup.”
Mafia members involved in the world of finance are particularly concerned, Gratteri said.
“Those who feed off the power and the riches of the church are nervous and agitated,” he said. “Pope Francis is dismantling the centers of economic power in the Vatican. If the bosses could bring him down, they wouldn’t hesitate.”
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Nov. 14 that no one in the Vatican is alarmed, and the pope is serene in continuing his work. He also said it is natural for organized crime families to feel threatened by papal teaching, since the Christian message is about honesty and transparency.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it with youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: