A powerful enemy or empty words?

Pope FrancisPope Francis has spoken out strongly against the Mafia. At a prayer vigil for the families of victims of Mafia violence the Pope spoke directly to Mafia members.  “Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can’t bring it with you to your next life. Repent,” he said.

According to a BBC News report the meeting was an attempt to draw a line under the church’s historic ties with mafia dons claiming to be God-fearing Roman Catholics.

The vigil was filled with those who have suffered at the hands of the mafia, including people whose family members and loved ones had been killed. Some of the families there may have felt comforted. Others might have reflected that village priests in Sicily know everything that happens in their villages, but there is no history of them helping the authorities track down Mafia leaders.

So Sicily will continue to struggle on under the burden of pizzo, protection payments and organised crime. It would be good if the Pope could call down a higher power to tackle that.

Asking the hard man collecting the cash each week to repent is not going to have much practical effect.

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