Pope kicks Mafia members out of Catholic Church
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Pope Francis, who is the head of the Catholic Church, made a rather shocking announcement on Saturday.
The mob is no longer welcome in the church.
The announcement was made during Pope Francis' trip into the heart of Italy's biggest crime syndicate, the southern region of Calabria.
Francis met with the jailed father of a 3-year-old boy who was killed along with his grandfther, a convicted drug runner, during the region's drug war. The father asked the Pope to pray for the boy's mother, who was recently released from the same prison. The Pope also met with the child's grandmothers, who were "weeping like fountains," according to a Vatical spokesman.
Later that day, the Pope announced that all members of the Mafia are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
He also accused the mob of practicing "the adoration of evil."
The comments were made during a mass in front of thousands of people in one of Italy's most crime-ridden areas.
In 1993, Pope John Paul warned members of Sicily's mafia that they would "one day face the justice of God." The mafia responded a few months later by bombing several churches in Rome.
This is not the first time that Pope Francis has spoken against the Mafia. Many people are now worried that he may also be facing a threat from the mobsters.
A spokesman for the Vatican says that the Pope's stern words do not constitute a formal over-arching decree of canon or church law, according to The Guardian. That is a formal, legal process.
Many mobsters in Italy portray themselves as very religious people. They go to church and take part in sacraments. It helps with their local credibility.