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Toxic-waste dumping by Italian Mafia draws papal condemnation

May 14, 2014

Pope Francis gave his support to victims of toxic-waste dumping in Italy’s Campania region, during his regular weekly public audience on May 14.

Recognizing a delegation from Campagnia, the Pope expressed his sympathy for the sufferings of the region’s inhabitants, who have experienced a sharp increase in cancer rates. In Campagnia, the dumping and burning of toxic wastes has caused serious pollution of the air, water, and soil. The illegal practices—which have given Campagnia the name “land of fire and poison”—are attributed to Mafia groups involved in waste management.

Pope Francis deplored the violation of the environment, noted that it is done to increase profits, and said that “the dignity of the human person and the right to health must always take precedence over any other interest.”

As he concluded his May 14 audience, the Pope also offered his greetings to the people of Sardinia, encouraging them in the face of “the problematic situations that still afflict your beautiful island.” And he asked all the faithful to pray for the suffering Christians of Iraq and Syria.


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