Pope Marks Historic Mafia Denunciation by St. John Paul II


Pope Francis is marking the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s historic denunciation of the Mafia with calls for today’s young to resist the pull of organized crime.

Francis issued a telegram to Sicily’s bishops Wednesday recalling John Paul’s “prophetic invective” against the mob during a May 9, 1993, trip to Agrigento, Sicily. His off-the-cuff remarks at the end of Mass — in which he demanded Mafiosi convert, change their ways or face the wrath of God’s final judgment — have gone down in Italian church history as a turning point of sorts, coming within a year of the mob slayings of two leading anti-Mafia prosecutors.

Wednesday also marked the 40th anniversary of the slaying of anti-Mafia crusader Giuseppe “Peppino” Impastato, who was remembered with marches in Palermo.

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