News / Europe

To Curb Mafia, Italian Bishop Wants to Ban Naming Godfathers

FILE - Pope Francis meets with relatives of Mafia victims in Rome's St. Gregorio VII church near the Vatican, March 21, 2014.
FILE - Pope Francis meets with relatives of Mafia victims in Rome's St. Gregorio VII church near the Vatican, March 21, 2014.
Reuters

A leading Roman Catholic bishop in southern Italy wants a 10-year ban on naming godfathers to stop the Mafia and other crime groups from using religion to extend the tentacles of their families.

Scenes of mobsters taking part in the baptisms of newborns as a godfather, or "padrino" – thereby establishing a special bond with future generations of potential criminals – are replete in Mafia films such as "The Godfather" and "Prizzi's Honor."

Archbishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini of the southern city of Reggio Calabria said the problem is real and must be addressed.

Morosini is from Italy's southern Calabria region, home to the 'Ndrangheta, one of the world's most dangerous crime organizations, and has spread throughout the world.

Morosini told Vatican Radio on Monday that he wanted a 10-year moratorium on naming godfathers to break the chain of criminality from generation to generation until a new mentality could develop.

Mobsters "use religious symbols and sacramental practices almost as if to give themselves a clean image before society,'' he said.

"And there is the real factor that being a 'padrino' at the sacrament of baptism or confirmation serves to create a union among [crime] families. The 'Ndrangheta is based fundamentally on collaboration and tight bonds among families and this comes through blood ties," Morosini said.

In the Christian tradition, godfathers vow to teach children the tenets of the faith in case the parents die. But in some areas of Italy and in immigrant cultures abroad, the practice forms an almost sacred familial bond.

Morosini said that during his visit to Calabria last month, Pope Francis encouraged him to "go forward" and suggested that the region's bishops should make a joint proposal to the Vatican.

During his visit to Calabria, the pope issued the strongest attack on organized crime groups by a pontiff in two decades, accusing them of practicing the "the adoration of evil'' and saying mafiosi are excommunicated.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid