H/T: The Daily Mail here
The Catholic Church is considering a ban on godparents at christenings to curb mafia influence.
An archbishop in one of southern Italy’s mafia strongholds has proposed a 10-year ban on naming godparents at religious ceremonies to prevent the church being ‘exploited’ to create bonds between mafia clans.
Mob clans use baptisms and confirmations to create alliances between criminal families and the role of godfather, or ‘padrino,’ helps them forge bonds with the next generation.
Pope Francis visited a mafia powerbase in June and condemned mobsters in the strongest possible terms, saying they were ‘excommunicated’ for their evil deeds. Previously he has called on them to repent.
Msgr. Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini says he initially put forward the idea to ban godfathers two years ago but it was rejected by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Msgr Morosini is the archbishop of Reggio Calabria, in the toe of Italy, controlled by Italy’s most ruthless mafia, the Ndrangheta. They are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent of Europe’s cocaine imports and have links with everyone from the IRA to the Colombian cartels.
Following Francis’ comments, Msgr Morosini has raised his proposal again, discussing it with the pope at the Vatican last weekend. He said Francis was open to the idea and asked him to confer with fellow bishops before reporting back to him.
Msgr Morosini said suspending godfathers at mafia christenings would be ‘a powerful decision’.
He said that the Ndrangheta mafia was founded on family relationships that were often ‘broadened and strengthened’ through the bosses’ access to sacraments such as baptism and confirmation.
He told the Italian newpaper La Repubblica: ‘This measure could help to stop this expansion, which from a mafia perspective, is fundamental.’