Pope Francis I excommunicates Mafia for 'adoration of evil' in strongest attacks in 20 years

Visiting southern Italy after one of infamous group's most shocking killings, Pope Francis said that the church would use all of its power to combat organised crime

The Pope excommunicated the Mafia yesterday, blasting a group that is thought to be the most powerful organised crime organisation in the world. It is the most severe condemnation of the Mafia by a pope for two decades, after criticism over 20 years ago triggered revenge attacks in Italy.

The Mafia is an example of the “adoration of evil and contempt of the common good,” he said.

In unplanned remarks about the ‘Ndragheta crime group to thousands of people at Mass in southern Italy, Pope Francis said: “Those who in their lives follow this path of evil, as Mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated.”

The pope said that the church would use its full force to combat organised crime. “Our children are asking for it, our young people are asking for it,” he said.

Pope Francis leaves in a helicopter from the small town of Sibari after a mass during the feast-day Mass of Corpus Domini, where he made the comments. Source: Getty Images The comments came after the pope met the family of a three-year-old child murdered earlier this year. Authorities believe that the ‘Ndrangheta are behind the killing, in which two other people died.

They concluded a visit to Calabria, 'Ndragheta's heartland and the site of the murder.


A spokesman said that the words did not constitute the kind of formal decree that is required for official excommunication. But the statement is still expected to have a deep affect on members of the Mafia, because many see themselves as religious and attend ceremonies.

The comments — the first time that a pope has used the word excommunicated in relation to th e organised crime group — are thought to be the church’s strongest attack on the Mafia since 1993.  Then, Pope John Paul blasted the Sicilian Mafia when he visited the area after a run of murders, and urged Roman Catholics in Sicily to rise up against them.

A number of churches were bombed after Pope John Paul's comments, in part because the church had broken an unwritten hands-off rule towards organised crime, experts said at the time.

The target of Pope Francis’ attack, the ‘Ndrangheta, is based in Calabria, the heel of Italy and is estimated to make up at least 3% of the country’s GDP. But it has spread across the world and has revenues of around £44 billion from drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam