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5/26/2013 6:50 PM
Posted by raucous on 5/26/2013 6:49:00 PM (view original):

"Stop wrecking people's lives and repent", Pope tells mafia


(Reuters) - Pope Francis spoke out against mafia organizations exploiting and enslaving people, calling on mafiosi on Sunday to repent in words that recalled an impassioned plea by Pope John Paul II 20 years ago.

Speaking off the cuff after his weekly Angelus blessing in St. Peter's Square, Francis spoke about the mafia for the first time since he became pontiff two months ago.

High profile killings by the Italian mafia have declined since the 1990s, but through activities such as prostitution, extortion and drug trafficking they still wield a heavy influence over the country and its economy.

Italy's main crime groups - the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta and the Camorra from around the southern city of Naples - have a joint annual turnover of 116 billion euros ($150 billion), according to the United Nations.

That is more than the annual sales of Italy's biggest company, oil giant Eni.

Francis recalled the example of the Sicilian anti-mafia priest Giuseppe Puglisi, who was killed by gunmen in 1993 outside his home in the island's capital of Palermo, and was beatified on Saturday .

"My thoughts are with the suffering of women, men and also children who are exploited by the many mafias who make them slaves, through prostitution, through many social pressures," he said.

"They cannot do this, they cannot make our brothers slaves, we must pray to the Lord to make these mafiosi convert to God."

In one of his most famous addresses in Agrigento, Sicily, in May 1993, John Paul angrily called on mafiosi to "repent, because one day you will face the judgment of God".

Earlier, Francis made his first visit to a Rome parish when he said Mass outside a church in the northern fringe of the city, joking with local children during the service.

"You can understand reality better from the outskirts than the center," he said in front of the modern, red brick church of Saints Elisabeth and Zachariah, a far cry from the vast 16th century Basilica of St. Peters in the Vatican.

During the service the pope, who is bishop of Rome, held a light-hearted question and answer session with children about the roles of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

"Whoever gets it right will win the derby," he said, in a reference to the Italian soccer cup final to be played later between Rome's two rival teams, AS Roma and Lazio. ($1 = 0.7734 euros)

(Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Alison Williams)



My guess is that he is looking very seriously in closing the Vatican Bank because of how mobbed up it is.
5/30/2013 7:52 AM

Pope Francis shunned official papal apartments to live 'normal life'

Pope Francis has revealed for the first time the reasons for

his decision to shun the official papal apartments and instead

live in a much more modest Vatican 'hotel'.

He has told a friend that he likes being in daily contact with ordinary people, does not want to be isolated and enjoys sitting down to meals with visiting clergy.

The Pope, 76, who on first seeing the papal apartments reportedly exclaimed "But there is room here for 300 people!" hinted that the arrangement may be permanent.

The Pope broke with Vatican tradition when he decided, after being elected on March 13 during a secret conclave of cardinals, not to live in the apostolic apartments.

Instead he opted to remain in the Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican residence which accommodates visiting clergy and lay people, where he had stayed with his fellow cardinals during the conclave.

He lives in a suite of rooms in the residence, which sits in the shadow of St Peter's Basilica, on the other side of the Vatican city state to the apostolic apartments.

He explained his choice in a letter written two weeks ago to an old friend, Father Enrique Martinez, a priest at the Church of the Annunciation in La Rioja.

"I didn't want to go and live in the apostolic palace. I go over there just to work and for audiences.

"I've remained living in the Casa Santa Marta, which is a residence which accommodates bishops, priests and lay people." There he feels "part of a family" he wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Clarin, an Argentinian daily.

"I'm visible to people and I lead a normal life – a public Mass in the morning, I eat in the refectory with everyone else, et cetera. All this is good for me and prevents me from being isolated.

"I'm trying to stay the same and to act as I did in Buenos Aires because if you change at my age you just look ridiculous." The Pope, the first Jesuit pontiff in history and the first to come from the Americas, said his election was "something totally surprising" which he considers "a gift from God".




7/29/2013 1:56 PM

Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?

29 July 2013 Last updated at 09:45 ET

Pope Francis has said gay people should not be marginalised but integrated into society.

Speaking to reporters on a flight back from Brazil, he reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.

He was responding to questions about whether there was a "gay lobby" in the Vatican.

"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?"

He also said he wanted a greater role for women in the Church, but insisted they could not be priests.

The Pope arrived back in Rome on Monday after a week-long tour of Brazil - his first trip abroad as pontiff - which climaxed with a huge gathering on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach for a world Catholic youth festival.

Festival organisers estimated it attracted more than three million people.

His remarks on gay people are being seen as much less judgemental than his predecessor's position on the issue.

Pope Benedict XVI signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests.

But Pope Francis said gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well," Pope Francis said in a wide-ranging 80-minute long interview with Vatican journalists.

"It says they should not be marginalised because of this but that they must be integrated into society."

But he condemned what he described as lobbying by gay people.

"The problem is not having this orientation," he said. "We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem."

On the role of women in the Church, he said: "We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more.

"But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says no... That door is closed."

Answering questions about the troubled Vatican bank, he said the institution must become "honest and transparent" and that he would listen to advice on whether it could be reformed or should be shut down altogether.

"I don't know what will become of the bank. Some say it is better that is a bank, others that it should be a charitable fund and others say close it," he said.

'Undisciplined'

Before leaving Brazil, Pope Francis gave a highly unusual one-to-one interview to a Brazilian TV programme.

The interview was shown on TV Globo's high-profile Sunday night documentary programme Fantastico, broadcast not long after the Pope departed for Rome.

The Pope was asked about the moment on his visit when his driver took a wrong turn and his vehicle was surrounded by crowds.

"I don't feel afraid," he answered. "I know that no-one dies before their time.

"I don't want to see these people who have such a great heart from behind a glass box. The two security teams [from the Vatican and Brazil] worked very well. But I know that I am undisciplined in that respect."

Asked about the recent protests by young people on the streets of Brazil, the Pope said: "The young person is essentially a non-conformist, and this is very beautiful.

"It is necessary to listen to young people, give them places to express themselves and to be careful that they aren't manipulated."

Asked about his simple lifestyle and use of a small car, he said it wasn't a good example when a priest had the latest model of a car or a top brand.

"At this moment I believe God is asking us for more simplicity," he added.


7/29/2013 2:03 PM
**** yeah!
7/30/2013 1:54 AM
maybe he's gay and just looking out for his kind
7/30/2013 5:50 AM
MAYBE?
7/30/2013 6:15 PM
MAYBE??

The Church teaches us that being teh ghey is not a sin...performing the action is.  Just like pre-marital sex or adultery. 

About time a Pope has figured this out. 
11/13/2013 9:19 PM

Prosecutor warns of a mafia threat against Pope Francis

By Eric J. Lyman | Religion News Service, Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 7:04 PM

ROME — Pope Francis could be at risk from the ‘Ndrangheta organized crime organization, according to a leading anti-mob prosecutor who has himself been the target of threats from the mafia.

Nicola Gratteri, 55, a state prosecutor in the southern Italian region of Calabria, where the ‘Ndrangheta is most active, said the pope’s effort to reform the church is making the ‘Ndrangheta “very nervous.”

The organization is considered by experts in Italy to be the most dangerous, most unified and most difficult to penetrate mafia-type organization in the country.

“I cannot say if the organization is in a position to do something like this, but they are dangerous and it is worth reflecting on,” Gratteri warned. “If the godfathers can find a way to stop him, they will seriously consider it.

RELATED: Pope Francis and his acts of humility

“Those who have up until now profited from the influence and wealth drawn from the church are getting very nervous,” he added. “For many years, the mafia has laundered money and made investments with the complicity of the church. But now the pope is dismantling the poles of economic power in the Vatican, and that is dangerous.”

Gratteri noted that in southern Italy organized crime figures have strong and high-profile relationships with local church leaders, who help give the crime figures legitimacy.

He also said most Italian mobsters are practicing Catholics, despite their violent activities.

“A gunman from the ‘Ndrangheta will pray and kiss his rosary before shooting someone,” said Gratteri, who has been under police protection against the mob since the 1980s.

Gratteri was named by Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta to head a special committee aimed at curbing the influence of organized crime.

Francis has spoken out strongly against organized crime in the past, specifically naming the country’s four main organized crime groups —including the ‘Ndrangheta — in May.

On Monday (Nov. 11), Francis spoke out against corruption, quoting Jesus from the Gospel of St. Luke: “It would be better for (the corrupt man) if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea.”

Security issues have been an area of concern since the early days of Francis’ papacy because of his willingness to break protocol to engage with the faithful.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

© The Washington Post Company

12/11/2013 4:09 PM
12/24/2013 8:22 AM
CNN Poll:  88% approval rating in the US.

Merry Christmas!

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