Pope Francis: ‘Excommunicated’ Mafia Adore Evil and Must Be Fought

The Holy Father went into mafia-controlled Calabria to say adoring Jesus in the Eucharist is key to fighting evil and injustice.

(photo: Sabrina Fusco/CNA)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis made a day trip Saturday into Italy’s Calabria region, a fearsome mafia stronghold, where he denounced the crime lords and their servants as “excommunicated” and “adorers of evil,” during his evening Mass homily, condemning them for their dishonesty and violence.

“When adoration of the Lord is substituted by adoration of money, the road to sin opens to personal interest. ... When one does not adore the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence,” Pope Francis said June 21 at the outdoor Mass in Sibari, Italy.

“Your land, so beautiful, knows the signs of the consequences of this sin. The Ndrangheta [Calabrian mafia] is this: adoration of evil and contempt of the common good. This evil must be fought, must be expelled. It must be told No,” he said.

Those who have chosen the “evil road, such as the mobsters,” are “not in communion with God. They are ‘excommunicated,’” the Holy Father said.

His homily, preached for the feast of Corpus Christi, focused on the importance of adoring God alone.

“And, for this faith, we renounce Satan and all of his temptations; we renounce the idols of money, vanity, pride and power. We, Christians, do not want to adore anything or anyone in this world except Jesus Christ, who is present in the holy Eucharist,” he said.

Pope Francis added that Christians adore God, “who is love” and who “in Jesus Christ has given himself for us, who has offered himself on the cross for the expiation of our sins and by the power of this love is risen and lives in the Church.”

A Christian’s adoration of Jesus present in the Eucharist will also bear fruit in fraternal charity, said Pope Francis: “The people that adores God in the Eucharist is the people that walks in charity.”

The Holy Father urged the congregation to “witness to concrete fraternal solidarity” in families, parishes and ecclesial movements.

“The Lord Jesus does not cease to raise up gestures of charity in his people who are journeying,” he said.

Furthermore, it is the Eucharist that unites the followers of Jesus, making them “one family, the people of God gathered around Jesus, the Bread of life.”

“If you adore Christ and walk behind him and with him, your diocesan Church and your parishes will grow in faith and in charity, in the joy of evangelization,” he said.

“You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, religious, catechists, children, the elderly, [and] young people walk together, one alongside the other, supporting one another, helping one another, loving one another as brothers, especially in moments of difficulty.”

The Holy Father also repeated his much-used encouragement to young people. “I have said it before, and I say it again now: Do not let your hope be stolen,” he said. “Adoring Jesus in your hearts and remaining united to him, you will know how to oppose evil, injustice, violence with the force of good, truth and beauty.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily by invoking Mary, the “woman of the Eucharist,” who will “help you remain united, also by means of your witness, so that the Lord will continue to give life to the world.”