The Pope has accused the Italian mafia groups for “exploiting and enslaving people”, and urges those involves in Mafia related crime to repent .
Pope Francis, in his weekly blessing in St Peter’s Square in Rome, said “we must pray to the Lord to make these Mafiosi convert to God”. The comments come following the beatification of a Roman Catholic priest, Don Giuseppe Puglisi; who was murdered by the mafia in 1993. The beatification process precedes the canonisation of an deceased individual where they are honoured as a Saint. within Roman Catholic belief.
The Pope’s challenges Mafia ‘enslavement’
Pope Francis said “I think of the great pain suffered by men, women and even children, exploited by so many mafias, who make them slaves, through prostitution, through many social pressures,” Pope Francis said on Sunday. He said that the Mafia cannot “make our brothers slaves” and he hailed Father Puglisi as a “martyr” and “an exemplary priest”.
The beatification ceremony in Sicily’s capital Palermo drew more than 50,000 people, although Pope Francis was not present at that event.