Mafia godfathers banned from baptisms

Mafia godfathers – bosses of the scandalous crime syndicates – have been banned from standing as godparents at baptisms or as sponsors at confirmations.

Sicilian Archbishop Michele Pennisi, an outspoken Mafia critic, says he wants to challenge the idea that crime bosses have a paternal side.

“The Mafia has always taken the term godfather from the Church to give its bosses an air of religious respectability,” he says.

“They are actually incompatible.”

Pennisi has decided to enforce the ban as much as is possible, though he’s realistic about this given the silence that protects Mafia members.

However, in cases where the person’s membership is confirmed as against the subject of rumour, Pennisi says they may not participate in these sacraments.

Pennisi’s firm stand was determined last month when a well-known Mafia “godfather” was allowed to stand as godfather at a baptism. The officiating priest was a relative of the “godfather”.

Pope Francis has already made his views on the Mafia clear. He excommunicated all members in 2014.

Nonetheless, Pennisi stresses that the Church is open to all who seek reformation, including criminals.

“If one of them admits to having done wrong, asks to be pardoned for the bad they have done – in that case we can discuss a path of conversion,” he says.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,