Pope Blasts Mafia: Repent or Go to Hell
Francis says mobsters' 'blood-stained' money is worthless
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2014 10:00 AM CDT
Pope Francis is cheered by faithful as he arrives for a meeting with relatives of innocent mafia victims in Rome's St. Gregorio VII church in Rome.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Pope Francis attended a vigil for mafia victims in Rome yesterday, reports the BBC, but he made bigger headlines by unloading on the mobsters themselves in his remarks:

  • "This life that you live now won't give you pleasure," he said. "It won't give you joy or happiness. Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can't bring it with you to your next life. Repent. There's still time to not end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path."

Francis has denounced organized crime before, but these were his most forceful remarks, reports AP. He mentioned an assault just this week in which a toddler was shot to death in a car along with his mother and her companion. "You had a father, a mother," he said to the absent mafiosi. "Think of them. Weep a little. And convert yourselves." Will a slam from the pope help? Don't bet on it. Australia's ABC News recalls that Pope John Paul II used similar language in 1993, telling mobsters to "repent, because one day you will face the judgment of God." Besides, when it comes to Francis and the mafia, the dislike seems mutual.