An archbishop in Sicily has banned mafia gangsters from claiming the title of "godfather" at baptisms.
Michele Pennisi said he wanted to reclaim the term and to challenge the notion crime bosses had a paternal side to them.
The Archbishop, whose diocese is near Palermo and includes the famous village of Corleone, featured in Mario Puzo's The Godfather, told AFP: "The mafia has always taken the term godfather from the Church to give its bosses an air of religious respectability.
"Whereas in fact, the two worlds are completely incompatible."
He said he could only enforce the ban if someone had been convicted of mafia activity. But Christian forgiveness was open to all, including mobsters, he added.
In 2014 Pope Francis excommunicated the mafia for the "adoration of evil and contempt of the common good".
The pope said 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.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies