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Repent now to avoid hell, Pope Francis tells members of the Mafia

By on Sunday, 23 March 2014

Francis appeals to mafia members during his speech (AP)

Francis appeals to mafia members during his speech (AP)

Pope Francis has made an emotional appeal to mafia members to give up their lives of crime and avoid eternal damnation.

“Men and women of the Mafia, please change your lives, convert, stop doing evil,” the Pope said at a prayer vigil on Friday. “I ask on my knees and for your own good.

“This life you have now, it will not give you pleasure, it will not give you joy, it will not give you happiness. The power, the money you have now from so many dirty deals, from so many Mafia crimes, blood-stained money, blood-stained power – you will not be able to take that with you to the other life.”

“There is still time not to end up in hell, which awaits you if you continue on this road,” Pope Francis said. “You had a papa and a mamma. Think of them, weep a little and convert.”

Every year since 1996, the Italian anti-Mafia group Libera has observed March 21, the first full day of spring, in memory of innocent victims of organised crime. According to the group, the approximately 700 people gathered with Pope Francis in a Rome church this year represented the families of an estimated 15,000 such victims across Italy.

In his greeting, Fr Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera, denounced the Mafia as the “assassin of hope” and recalled a range of its victims. The priest mentioned women caught up in human trafficking, people fallen ill owing to illegal disposal of toxic waste and even children, including Domenico Gabriele, an 11-year-old shot to death while playing soccer in 2009, and Nicola Campolongo, a three-year old murdered in January, reportedly to avenge an unpaid drug debt.

Fr Ciotti thanked the Pope for coming, saying, “We thought we had found a father, we have also found a brother.”

The Pope listened for about 45 minutes, head bowed and hands folded in prayer, as members of the congregation stepped up to the lectern and recited, in some cases with breaking voices, the names of people killed by the Mafia.

“Let us pray together to ask the strength to move ahead,” the pope said, “to be not discouraged but to continue to struggle against corruption.”


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  • Thomaspj Poovathinkal SSP

    Jesus Lord, have mercy on these people trapped in sin. Help them Lord that they may repent and turn to you for salvation.

  • Furtrapper

    Truly may they repent, as all of us must repent who willfully continue in grievous sin against God and God’s commandments, if we are to avoid the burning fires of Hell – fires which Christ repeatedly warned us, in plain and stark language, are reserved for the impenitent.

  • MIKE

    It is good to hear the Holy Father speak of Hell. Far too many Bishops and Priests have ignored preaching on most moral teachings of the Church, and never even mention “Hell”.

    CCC: #1033 – 1037.
    CCC: “1056 Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the “sad and lamentable reality of eternal death” (GCD 69), also called “hell.”
    Some Bible Quotes from Jesus about ‘hell': – – – Mt 5:22, 5:29; – Mt 7:13:14; – Mt 10:28; – Mt 13:41-42, – Mt 25:30; – Mk 9:43-48.

    CCC: “2092 There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high),
    or he presumes upon God’s almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit). ”

    Pray for our Pope, Bishops and Priests.

  • Guest

    ‘Men and women of the Mafia, please change your lives, convert, stop doing evil,” the Pope said at a prayer vigil on Friday. “I ask on my knees and for your own good.”‘

    This is a father in the gospel at his pastoral duty. Now for a blood-stained power darker even than the monstrous horrors of gangland brutality .. dressed up as such gangsterism is as underground culture, pious defence of family, policing one’s own patch by looking our for one’s own gain. Would the Holy Father direct these stinging sentiments toward the mass-murder machine of abortion – against his own preferred personal way with things; one cannot be forever condemning the gangster, true, nor can one be forever harping on the evil Holocaust of modern religion, the vainglorious idol of self-fulfilling will; perhaps we shall live to see such powerful imagery turned to humanity’s current choice of offending God, in a worldwide sacrifice of the helpless innocents to that Ba’al Moloch .. all the while calling bad good, and good bad.

    God Bless Our Pope! Dear Lord, protect him!

  • vito

    This Holy Father continues to break the traditions of the Church and his predecessors. He is concerned with the real-life issues of simple people, he has begun to break old power alliances and address the real evils instead of imaginary ones. No wonder he is so loved by simple people, Catholics or not, but so hated my many of those in power. I really begin to fear for his life.

  • Tylers_Twin

    Yet the bankers who are causing more misery than the Mafia ever have get away with merry hell. In fact, one JP Morgan adviser or “consigliere” was recently received into the Church and the priest who performed the task was promoted to bishop by the Holy Father himself.

  • Diffal

    Who is he to judge?

  • Guest

    In what way, v? The Mafia has been condemned – and its baleful influence at the highest levels of power in Italy (and elsewhere), even among Church officials, has been confronted and not infrequently actions taken! All such powerful, and well publicised (but, it seems, swiftly forgotten), condemnations have been fruitless against a many-headed hydra-like, family-based, gangland loyalty; it is not merely finding a horse’s head in one’s room, or threats of revenge in seeking to undone the tangled knots of Italian (and world) banking that drives condemnations – rather it is the deep seated sinfulness of this socialised evil .. as the still awesome Benedict XVI demonstrated.

    God Bless Our Pope!

  • Tylers_Twin

    He has nothing to fear at all. It was B16 who was the problem. There was an orchestrated assault on his reputation from day one.

  • Alan40

    Eh? I would rather be fleeced by a banker than murdered by the Mafia.

  • Bishop James

    Well done Francis.

    You continue to be an inspiration.

  • Furtrapper

    We all have the right to judge – but not to be judgemental. To judge and evaluate is the essence of Reason – God’s defining gift to man, made in God’s image.

    We therefore judge ourselves and each other, in love and charity, against the objective standard of God’s commandments. He has made it plain how we are to behave, if we love him, and the penalty for rejecting him.

    “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14.15

    Judgmentalism, on the other hand, is a petty, small-minded, self-righteous and censorious attitude that has nothing to do with Reason and Justice but everything to do with egotism and a lust for moralistic pre-eminence at the expense of one’s fellow man. All Christians are expected to avoid judgmentalism but to exercise judgement guided by God’s grace and his commandments and precepts.

    Judgmentalism is rooted in hate. Judgement, on the other hand, is rooted in love, freedom and truth.

    Here too, as with the word ‘love’, the secularists love to manipulate the word ‘judgmental’, conflate it with ‘judgment’, and apply it to anyone who makes an evaluation of someone’s behaviour – especially a negative evaluation against secularist immorality.

    Such manipulation fools no one. It is patent hypocrisy – lying at the very heart of secular progressive thought and action.

  • Diffal

    Please don’t misunderstand me Furtrapper, I actually agree with what you say. I simply wanted to throw out that stock phrase of Pope Francis that has been used(out of context) to justify all sorts of things. The distinction between the person and their acts is of course integral to Catholic moral teaching- Love the Sinner hate the Sin!

    Many in the mainstream media are lauding this act Franciscan act of moral judgement while at the same time praising a (perceived) lack of moral judgement in other areas.

  • Sceptic

    Why do you accuse “secularists” of this when surely you mean atheists?

    A secularist is simply someone who believes that there should be a separation of the state from the direct involvement of all religious groups. That doesn’t mean that any individual who holds a belief is disadvantaged, or cannot participate. Indeed many with belief can be, and are, also enthusiastic secularists.

    Reading through these pages I see frequent misuse of the term, and am trying to understand why this is.

  • Gina

    Wonderful, pope Francis!
    We are immensely relieved and happy about the prayers for all the innumerable victims of horrible violence.
    All too often, the victims have been forgotten and all focus has been on the murderers/criminals.
    Very, very relieving. All victims have the right to this respect. THANK YOU POPE FRANCIS!.

  • Furtrapper

    Totally agree with you.

  • Furtrapper

    The secular movement includes atheists but embraces all sorts of other beliefs and non beliefs, mostly of a solipsistic, antinomian nature who seek to use the Positive Law (as opposed to the Natural Law) and the coercive power of the militarized State Machine to enforce their views (ideologies) on anyone who presumes to disagree with them.

    Worse, they have the effrontery to declare their self-invented ideologies are ‘neutral’, are not ideologies at all, but are simply ‘the way things are’, labelling all opposing ideas, beliefs and opinions as ‘hate speech’.

    As many have now begun to understand, the secular progressives, who preach ‘tolerance’ ad nauseam, are tolerant of anyone – provided he or she agrees with them.

    If you don’t agree with them – you will be attacked, you will be derided, you will be mocked, you will be ridiculed by the secular progressive dominated mass media, you will be trashed, you may even lose your job… all in the name of ‘tolerance’.

  • Tylers_Twin

    The role of the central bank is to fund war. The Sicilian dons are not in the same league as Blair and Bush when it comes to murder and destruction.

  • James M

    It seems ironic that that understanding of secularism describes some of the intellectual presuppositions of US Catholicism, which accepted the US separation of Church & State, apparently in principle, & not just as a fact. Had it not been for the Catholic acceptance of that separation, “Dignitatis Humanae” would hardly have been possible. It is very ironic that V2 should end up teaching one of theses Leo XIII had rebuked in 1899.
    Basically, V2 taught – and canonised – a secularist principle; & the SSPX are now being expected to accept it. This is a very strange development.
    IIRC, within Catholicism, this separation (also ?) falls under the heading of what used to be called “laicism”, a movement of Catholic thought that was a reaction to clericalism.

    It’s too simple to describe as “secularism” all attacks on religious life (in particular) or on union of Church and State: sometimes, the motive for the attacks is not animosity against the CC at all, but a fear that the Church is far too privileged and comfortable for its own good. Union of Church & State may have its advantages, but it also holds very serious dangers: such as the identification of religion with politics, so that “gun and gospel” risk being identified, to the great harm of the latter.

  • David

    Fatima Prayer:”O my Jesus save us from the fires of HELL and lead all souls to heaven especially those in most need of thy mercy”

    Our Lady of Fatima: “many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them.”

    Our Lord Jesus Christ: Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. [14] How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! (Matt 7:13-14)

  • David

    How can liberal Catholics continue to make Pope Francis ‘their man’ when most of them believe that no one goes to hell. Thank you Holy Father for clear teaching on the fact that people WILL go to hell unless they repent of their sins.

  • Sceptic

    Whatever it is that you are railing about it isn’t secularism, or secularists.

    In fact I really don’t recognise the picture you paint. Where on earth do you get the idea that our system is not tolerant of you? The whole point of it is that there is room for a huge variety of opinions. Like everyone else the only restriction is that you are expected to respect the law.

    The idea that there is a “militarized State Machine to enforce their views (ideologies)” is risible. It just isn’t true. You make us seem like Russia! You are as free to express your views as anyone else. That you might find them mocked and ridiculed has nothing whatsoever to do with you holding or expressing those views. The only reason would be that the views seem deserving of mockery or ridicule so it has to be down to you to express them better and be more convincing.

    To blame others for your problems is almost always a cover for your own failures.

  • MIKE

    There is no such thing as “conservative” or “liberal” Catholics within the Church,
    only “Catholics” (who are faithful to Christ and His Church), and “Catholic heretics” or “Catholic schismatics”.
    Let’s all start using the correct terminology, otherwise we are letting heretics and schismatics off the hook by not stating the truth. This is why there is so much confusion in the media because they believe you can be a Catholic in good standing when in reality some they write about are heretics and/or schismatics.

    CCC: ” 2089 INCREDULITY is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it.
    HERESY is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same;
    APOSTACY is the total repudiation of the Christian faith;
    SCHISM is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

    FYI to all who read this: There are 16 separate paragraphs on ‘Hell’ in the CCC; and 4 paragraphs on Purgatory. There are 21 paragraphs on Mortal Sin, and 23 additional paragraphs on Grave Sin – which is mortal sin.
    The ‘Doctrine of the Faith’ has not changed since VII. The “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH”, ‘revised according to the Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II’ – 1997, should be in every Catholic home.
    (The footnotes in the CCC reference the Bible passage and/or official Church document as appropriate.)

  • MIKE

    “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment”. – JESUS – Jn 7:24

    ” For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
    Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
    You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – JESUS – Mt 7:2-5.

    Jesus did not say we should not correct our neighbors (take the speck out of their eye), but we must not be hypocrites (log in our own eye), and will be judged by the same measure we judge others with.

  • cjkeeffe

    The call to repentence to avoid Hell is to all of us…

  • cjkeeffe

    True one is a catholic who acepts all the teachings of the Catholic Church, if a person don’t accept this or that teaching then there not a catholic simple really.
    Its not me, its the person who denies this or that teaching that declares themselves not catholic.

  • cjkeeffe

    If the question who is the pope to judge well the answer is in the question he is the pope.

  • Furtrapper

    There are none so blind as he who will not see.

  • Sceptic

    As my eyes, and my mind, are both wide open, I guess you must be speaking of yourself.

    Please take a step back from your very cynical position and try to see the rest of your fellow citizens as they really are. There are plenty of good people with honest and well meaning motivations to continue our human progress. Secularism is but one part of that. Try joining. You would find it rewarding.

  • Sceptic

    Do you honestly expect these “liberal” Catholics to change their approach? If not, will you welcome the schism you obviously predict? When this happens how can the Church survive? If you don’t welcome it what are you proposing to do about it?

  • Sceptic

    Surely that is because hell itself is a concept that means different things to different people.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    Blair and Bush bankers?

  • Furtrapper

    I couldn’t possibly achieve your enhanced state of cerebral illumination or your bad tempered ad hominem style.

  • MIKE

    You mean Heretical Catholics and/or Schismatic Catholics (there is no such thing as a liberal or conservative Catholic when it comes to the Faith) ?
    I’m not predicting anything, just clarifying.
    There have been schisms and heresies since the beginning of the Church more than 2000 years, on the far right and on the far left.

    Jesus said: ” And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” Mt 16:18.
    The Church is still here. I put my trust in Jesus.

  • Sceptic

    Do you accept that your position means that the Church in the developed world will become tiny and unable to have any influence at all? Do you also accept that as the developing world desires what the developed world has that, in time, the same will happen there too?

  • Sceptic

    My temper is fine. There is also no “ad hominem” on offer here. I am discussing your ideas and not you personally.

  • MIKE

    It does not matter if the Church becomes smaller. That could be a possibility. Catholics must remain true to the teaching of Christ and His Church.
    The Catholic Church is not a popularity contest, nor do we vote on what is or is not sinful. Either something is right or wrong. Power does not matter.
    If the developed world goes the way of Sodom and Gormorah as long as faithful Catholics do not, that is the price of God given free will. To chose God and Heaven, or Hell.
    Many of Christ’s disciples left Him because of his teaching. Jn 6:66.

  • Agnus

    Oh Well done Holy Father!
    ………….Can you instruct Our Lord’s Sacred Priests to discuss the lives of the SAINTS on their respective Feast days now – even if they faced Martyrdom in a frightening way…….?
    and do they discuss accredited Apparitions of the Holy Virgin on the relevant Feast Days?
    Fatima? ……..No
    La Salette?…..Never a mention
    Akita?……………….Too frightened………..
    Ecuador?……………Too likely to explain all that’s happened.
    Oh dear………………

  • Tylers_Twin

    Blair is an adviser to JP Morgan and earns millions. Bush’s family fortune is based on the banking industry. He personally signed the order demanding that the American public bail the banks out in 2007. The Mafia is not in the same league ….

  • Tylers_Twin

    It has been estimated that half a million have been killed in Iraq though. Perhaps if the heads of the victims were placed side by side for your purview …

  • Tylers_Twin

    This blog is curious. A troll can insult the dead but say anything about a bishop and your post is removed.

  • John Gotti

    Bishop Kenney is a liberal! (Testing…)

  • Tylers_Twin

    I am named in honour of a drug taking cyclist and you after a fictitious mafia don on a blog discussing the issue of organised crime. A point of interest is that Coppola has now distanced himself from “The Godfather” as being about the mafia. He saw the film as a metaphor for America. If you examine the opening speech by Bonasera and the response of “Vito” Corleone, Coppola’s script is actually justifying the existence of the mafia from the point of view of Italian ethnocentricity. In other words, the only language the Anglo-Saxons understand is violence. And when you deal with them, you have to be prepared to back up negotiations with force if required. Vladimir Putin has evidently reached the same conclusion that the Anglo-Saxons rig any game they control: LIBOR, oil price, professional cycling and so on … they are no better than us Corleone tells Bonasera – don’t place your trust in them.

  • John Gotti

    No. You were wrong. Apparently one can say something about a bishop but NOT insult the dead.

  • Lim y

    Pope talking to the mafia?? He should probably start in his own “back yard”
    Tell the child abusers/ molesters/rapist IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH that non sense! Tell the u.s government that whos the biggest killers known to man tell them that..than after them tell
    Other government agencys that kill n than throw up a fraudulent articale in the news to justify the killing or murder hence passing the blame to the person or
    Ppl that are dead who cant correct or defend their alligations than u may start w less organizations that are guilty of this but u cant tell one w out telling the other, u cant tell the one guilty of 50 n not the one gulty of millions its simple!