Pope Francis greets people during a meeting with UNITALSI, an Italian Catholic association for the transportation of sick people to Lourdes and other Marian shrines, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 9). Photo by Alessia Giuliani, courtesy Catholic News Service

Pope Francis greets people during a meeting with UNITALSI, an Italian Catholic association for the transportation of sick people to Lourdes and other Marian shrines, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 9). Photo by Alessia Giuliani, courtesy Catholic News Service


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ROME (RNS) The Vatican on Friday downplayed reported mob threats against Pope Francis, just two days after a high-profile anti-mafia prosecutor said Francis could be a target from the ‘Ndrangheta mafia organization in southern Italy.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, told reporters on Friday (Nov. 15) that the Vatican was “extremely calm” regarding a possible mob threat against the pope.

“There is absolutely no reason for concern, no need to feed alarmism,” Lombardi said.

The statement comes a day after Francis traveled the three miles between the Vatican City and the Quirinale Palace in Rome with his normal staff and without a police escort or any additional security to visit Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

Nicola Gratteri, 55, a state prosecutor in the southern Italian region of Calabria, where the 'Ndrangheta is most active, said the pope's effort to reform the church is making the 'Ndrangheta "very nervous."

Nicola Gratteri, 55, a state prosecutor in the southern Italian region of Calabria, where the ‘Ndrangheta is most active, said the pope’s effort to reform the church is making the ‘Ndrangheta “very nervous.” photo Jaqen (Niccolò Caranti) via Wikimedia Commons


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Anti-mob prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, who has himself been a target of threats from organized crime groups, made a series of remarks saying that Francis’ reform-minded agenda was making the ‘Ndrangheta “very nervous” and that the pontiff could become a target for the organization.

“For many years, the Mafia has laundered money and made investments with the complicity of the church,” Gratteri said. “But now the pope is dismantling the poles of economic power in the Vatican, and that is dangerous.”

Gratteri said the pope’s efforts to confront corruption and to modernize the scandal-scarred Vatican Bank  have attracted the mob’s ire. The Vatican Bank, which is going through reforms as part of a wider set of changes at the Institute for Religious Works, recently published its first-ever annual report and has closed accounts and made its books more transparent. In addition, the IOR published its first report on money laundering — a major mob activity — in May.

Francis has not been shy about blasting corruption wherever he can find it, including organized crime groups. Around the time of the IOR report on money laundering, the pope strongly criticized all of Italy’s organized crime organizations, including the ‘Ndrangheta. Earlier in the week, he railed against the evils of corruption, an address that prompted Gratteri’s remarks.

YS/ KRE END LYMAN

8 Comments

  1. “For many years, the Mafia has laundered money and made investments with the complicity of the church,” Gratteri said.

    Money laundering, aiding and abetting child molesters, telling 3rd world people being ravaged by AIDS NOT to use condoms, making hungry, homeless people listen to their drivel in order to get their “charity”, when do the followers of this criminal, morally corrupt religion finally have a reality check and decide if their is A church of a God, this one isn’t it. If their was an all knowing, loving God, he would have stopped this madness long ago.

    • @ Earrold Gunter,your comment is not related to what they have put in press.
      Stop enemity and hatred. It`s not only the catholic church with such evils, but even other denomination are more than what is in the catholic church.

  2. Lawrence, perhaps you didn’t notice the quote straight from the piece?
    No hate there either, just facts followed by a question and another statement of what I believe.
    However I agree, most other religions have a history of violence, and moral corruption, which is why I think they all need to fade into history along with other ancient religions. Religion poisons everything (my opinion).

  3. Earold, I think you’ve got that backwards. Humans tend toward corruption, and violence, and thievery and immorality. That’s what corrupts everything. It’s why we need God.

    • Hi, There is no problem with god almighty, it is one and omnipresent. The problem laying with people who made their religion and who sell god for their profit. On this course there is no difference in religion, all religion people are selling!

  4. Sue, Well man has thought there was a God, or Gods for a very long time. So, what is the belief is a God doing for us, since “Humans tend toward corruption, and violence, and thievery and immorality”? Not much huh?
    Religious belief gives man reason to justify all of these things. I would like to have us try to be humane to each other, just because it is what is best for us all.

  5. The Pope has his work cut out for him when it comes to compensating for the horrendous evils perpetrated by the Catholic Church, those that are known and those that are not known by the general public. There are people that have been victimized by this organization and their associates, throughout their lives. These victims need to be recognized for the enormous pain and suffering they have endured and should be compensated accordingly. Anyone that aids/abets in horrific acts against the most vulnerable in our society is as bad as the actual perpetrator. Anyone in league with the devil needs to be held to account. Time to change centuries of “let me destroy you so I can save you mentality”. Ad Quem Ibimus, Cardinal Dolan’s cute remarks, after Pope Francis was elected, certainly didn’t help the Church’s image either. The Pope would be wise to deflate Dolan’s enormous ego…Dolan could learn a lot from Pope Francis’ humility. Dolan presented himself as a “phoney Christian” by some of his acts and deeds during the priest sexual abuse revelations. The fact that salt was rubbed into the wounds of victims and their support group in 2011, was beyond reprehensible, I seriously doubt this was in the Spirit of Jesus and His teachings.

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