Rome, Italy (The Adobo Chronicles) – Pope Francis had harsh words for the Italian Mafia on Saturday, describing one crime syndicate as “the adoration of evil” and saying all mafiosi “are excommunicated” from the church. His condemnation was the strongest attack on the mob since Pope John Paul criticized the Sicilian Mafia in 1993.
Pope Francis made the remarks after visiting a stronghold of the ‘Ndrangheta, one of Italy’s most dangerous crime groups. There he comforted the jailed father of a 3-year-old boy killed in a mob ambush and condemned mob violence against children.
Vatican insiders have also hinted that the Pope is set to excommunicate notorious Filipino Catholics, notably those who were recently indicted for plunder, graft and corruption and other charges in connection with the 10 Billion Peso pork barrel scam in the Philippines. Among those indicted were Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, along with alleged scam mastermind businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. As of this writing, Napoles, Revilla and Estrada have been arrested and jailed.
Napoles and the three senators are known to be devout Catholics.
Prior to being arrested and jailed, Napoles used to have the statue of the ‘miraculous’ Black Nazarene transferred from Manila’s Quiapo Catholic Church to her private residence on many occasions.
Just moments before he surrendered, Revilla wore a t-shirt that said “The Lord is on my side; I willl not fear; what can man do unto me?” Before his indictment, he and his family went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Enrile was Justice Secretary and then Defense Minister under the regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos. Aligning himself with the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, Enrile became on of the leaders of the 1986 People Power Revolution that drove Marcos into exile.
Estrada, on the other hand, resisted calls by a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that he apologize for betraying the people’s trust.
It wasn’t clear whether the impending excommunication would be based on the Second Commandment (‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain’); the Sixth Commandment (‘Thou shalt not steal’) or the Tenth Commandment (‘Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s goods).
Perhaps, all three? And, maybe a fourth for Enrile, a known womanizer — the Ninth Commandment (‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife’).