Pope Benedict put a popular Sicilian priest who was killed by the Mafia in 1993 on the fast track toward sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church yesterday.
The Vatican said the Pope had signed a decree recognising that Father Pino Puglisi had been killed "in hatred of the faith", meaning that he can be beatified – the last step before sainthood – without a miracle being attributed to his intercession with God.
Father Puglisi, who had delivered many sermons against the Mafia, was shot dead outside his home in Palermo at a time when there were many Mafia killings in the city. Six mafiosi were sentenced to life in prison for the murder.
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