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Pope urges Sicily to reject Mafia

October 04, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI denounced organized crime, and praised the memory of a heroic priest who defied the Mafia, during a one-day visit to Sicily on October 3.

"We must be ashamed of evil, of what offends God, of what offends man,” the Pope said in his homily during a Mass in Palermo. “We must be ashamed of the evil brought to the civil and religious community by actions that do not like to see the light of day.”

The Pope challenged the people of Sicily to resist evil. "The temptation to discouragement and resignation comes to those who are weak in the faith, to those who confuse evil with good, to those who think that in the face of evil, often profound evil, nothing can be done,” he said. As if to make his meaning clear, he mentioned the heroism of Father Pino Puglisi, who was murdered in 1993 after he delivered a series of stinging public denunciations of the Mafia.

Although most news reports interpreted the Pope's words as an unmistakable condemnation of Mafia influence, a Reuters report said that the Pontiff's homily was a disappointment to the opponents of organized crime.


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