Catholic World News

Pope condemns Mafia, lauds cloistered monks, on quick trip to Calabria

October 10, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI condemned the “vicious criminality” of Italy’s notorious Ndrangeta mafia during a one-day visit to the southern Calabria region on October 9.

As he celebrated Mass just outside the town of Lamezia Terme, the Pope remarked that Calabria “seems to be in a perpetual state of emergency” because of economic problems and because of criminal activity that “damages the fabric of society.” He urged the people of the region to respond by building a community of virtue, implementing Catholic social teaching and enriching their personal prayer lives.

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel, which told the story of the wedding guest who came without an appropriate garment, the Pontiff cited a commentary by St. Gregory the Great, who said that “the guest who responded to God's invitation to participate in His banquet had faith, which opened the door of the hall to him, but he lacked something essential: the wedding robe, which is charity, love.” Pope Benedict went on to say that this garment “is woven with two threads: love of God and love of neighbor.” Later in the day the Pope visited the nearby Carthusian monastery of Sts. Stephen and Bruno. There he reminded the monks of the “profound link” between their isolated monastic community and the Holy See, saying that the prayer of the Carthusians serves the cause of Christian unity. Speaking to local residents who gathered outside the monastery, the Pope explained the monks’ role:

Their purpose today is to 'improve' the environment, in the sense that sometimes the air we breathe in our societies is unhealthy, it is polluted by a non-Christian mentality, at times even a non-human mentality, because it is dominated by economic interests, concerned only with worldly things and lacking a spiritual dimension.

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