Cosa Nostra Facing Excommunication

May 26, 2021
Cardinal Peter Turkson

The Holy See has just set up an eight person working group to fight against the influence of the Mafia by examining certain “doctrinal and canonical” aspects of the problem. 

“They are not in communion with God: they are excommunicated!” Of whom was Pope Francis talking in formulating this solemn warning? The Mafia which is here directly targeted by Peter's successor. These remarks made in 2014, during a trip by the Roman Pontiff to Calabria, Italy, have just found a new topicality in May 2021 when the Holy See has just set up a working group to work on a future excommunication of the “mafiosi.”

It is to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, chaired by Cardinal Peter Turkson, that the Argentinian pontiff has entrusted the mission of setting up a committee in order to “deepen this theme [of the excommunication of the mafia], to collaborate with bishops around the world, and to promote and support initiatives.”

The announcement of this somewhat surprising creation was made on May 9, 2021, the day after the beatification of Rosario Livatino, an Italian magistrate who fell under the bullets of the Sicilian Mafia, on September 21, 1990.

The objective of the new group is “to eliminate definitively any possible compromise of Catholicism with the mafia,” explains its coordinator, Vittorio V. Alberti.

This historian and philosopher asserts that it is fundamental “to affirm once and for all that it is not possible in the world to belong to the mafia and to be part of the Church.”

Since his election, Francis has attacked the Mafiosi head-on, who readily practice in the Church, and are often benefactors of parishes. In 2018, he traveled to Palermo to pay homage to the priest Giuseppe Puglisi, murdered twenty-five years earlier (and beatified in 2013) for having sought to draw the young people of an underprivileged neighborhood from the tentacles of the Cosa Nostra.

“We cannot believe in God and be a part of the mafia,” the Pope stated.