A Peek Into Several European Countries
Written By: Michael Derlicki
The Catholic Church, the Vatican and Pope Francis have accusations made against them of collusion between organized crime and elements with the Catholic hierarchy. Pope Francis being one of the most influential people in the world; and the most influential and powerful figure in the Catholic Church has recently put himself in risk of mafia retribution. Pope Francis has been working extremely hard to fix any problems within the Catholic Church and the Vatican ever since he has became Pope. Fixing bad reputation, media issues and recently Pope Francis has reached out and is determined to clean up corruption within the Catholic Church. Nicola Gratteri, who has lived under police protection for nearly 25 years made a statement that “the Jesuit Pope’s campaign to tackle graft was upsetting powerful crime organizations in Italy, which have in the past enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Catholic hierarchy.” He continued to explain that certain organized crime organizations have up until recently always made significant profit from the power and the wealth of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis dismantling centers of economic power within the Vatican and messing with the mafias’ income, has high organizational leaders of the criminal world agitated. The mafia is use to the church often turning a blind eye to the activities of the mafia groups and because of recent changes is trying to find a solution to Pope Francis. Nicola Gratteri says that “I don’t know if organized crime is in a position to do something, but certainly they are thinking about it. It could be dangerous. If the godfathers can trip him up, they would not hesitate to do so” The mafia has had a very comfortable life with the Catholic Church; for example a bishop refused to criticize a mafia godfather even after he was definitely convicted by the Supreme Court. The daughter of the convicted godfather was allowed to marry inside the city’s cathedral; this was a very big deal as it goes against tradition. Gratteri continues to prove his point by saying that there are priests who are invited to drink coffee and have dinner with mafia leaders, giving the mafia strength and legitimization for being associated with the church. Pope Francis has recently stood against such action and has showed that in his opinion no organized crime should be tolerated. For example “In May, during an address in St Peter’s Square in Rome, he strongly criticized Italy’s four mafia organizations for “exploiting and enslaving people”, calling on gangsters to repent.” A few weeks ago Pope Francis “gave a fiery sermon against corruption, quoting a passage from the Bible in which Jesus said sinners deserve to be tied to a rock and thrown into the sea.” I personally thought that this was a very clever statement to make. Because of the fact that the Italian mafia has had a history with throwing people into the water with weights around their feet and that the Pope may have been making a metaphorical statement. Also Pope Francis has said that “I think of all the pain of men, women and even children who are exploited by many mafias…they are forced to do work that makes them slaves, like prostitution. Behind all this slavery there are mafias.” I believe that Pope Francis will renew and change the way that they Vatican and the Catholic Church go about dealing with the mafia. Although that his job may be very dangerous I believe he will make it possible through his bravery, strength, determination and support of the people.