Pope Francis recently commanded mafia dons in Italy to repent and stop the mindless ongoing violence. The Pope asked individuals from different crime rings involved in criminal activities to shun the bloodied violence and to prevent causing mothers to shed tears over the loss of their sons. He said this during his visit to Naples, a city reeling with heightened instances of violent crime. Reportedly, one of the neighborhoods in the city is home to drug peddlers and addicts.
Pope Francis who was on a visit to the city of Naples in southern Italy, spoke to people in the Scampia neighborhood. The region is infamous as a bastion of the Camorran mafia which is a replication of the Sicilian mafia for Naples. He also criticized the political setup of Italy that has been plagued by corruption. He was talking under a wrecked housing project named Le Vele, which was shaped like a sail boat. It is said that the place where Pope Francis was standing is considered so hazardous by the residents of the neighborhood that even the cops normally shy away from entering it.
He urged the inhabitants of the notorious neighborhood to not lose hope. Scampia has quite literally become a combat zone for the gang wars between different gangs of the Camorran mafia. The gangs after each other’s blood are trying to seize more control of the extortion rackets and drug smuggling. Pope Francis also urged the inhabitants of Naples to come together, and stand and resist these mafia syndicates as they are immoral and they selfishly misguide the youth, the destitute, and the incapacitated. He humbly asked the mafia gangs to repent and to come back to honest ways of living. He pleaded to them on behalf of the mothers of Naples who have lost their sons during various incidents of violence erupting in the city.
Pope Francis has made talking for the poor and the weaker sections of the society the prime objective of his papacy. He gave up the vast apartments and houses that his forerunners lived in. He resides in a small guest house apartment in the Vatican. He proposed the excommunication of members of the mafia gangs from the Church and also said that he would welcome them wholeheartedly in case they repent. With unemployment rate shooting through the roof at above 40 percent, the Scampia neighborhood in Naples is privy to open drug trafficking and other vices. Pope Francis also interacted with a jobless Italian man and a woman who immigrated to Italy from Philippines and empathized about their difficulties. He later said that immigrants should not be regarded as second-class citizens and looked down upon.
Pope Francis went on to demand fair wages and rooting out corruption from everyday life. He sounded aghast at the extent of corruption in the world today. He was talking just one day after the transport minister of Italy, Maurizio Lupi, was forced to resign after an inquiry committee was setup to look into the charges levied against him regarding contracts for public works. The crowd cheered for him when he invoked the power of Madonna to accompany the citizens of Naples in their native dialect after he commanded the mafia dons to give up the path of violence and to repent.
By Ankur Sinha