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Excommunication could be tool for fighting corruption, organized crime


A general view shows the court of Rome's Palace of Justice Palace at the start of "Mafia Capital" trial. A Vatican consultation group will consider initiatives to bolster the fight against corruption and organized crime. (CNS photo/Alessandro Di Meo, pool via Reuters)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican consultation group will consider initiatives to bolster the fight against corruption and organized crime, including by looking at possibilities for excommunicating members of the Mafia and other criminal organizations.

The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development published an outcome document Aug. 2 highlighting anti-corruption proposals that came out of the Vatican's first "International Debate on Corruption."

Among the proposals made by the consultation group is the "development of a global response -- through bishops' conferences and local churches -- to the excommunication of the Mafia and other similar criminal organizations and to the prospect of excommunication for corruption."

Popes and local bishops, especially in Italy, have long warned members of the Mafia that by committing such grave sins, they, in effect, have excommunicated themselves from the church.

In a June 2014 visit to Sibari, in Italy's Calabria region, Pope Francis said that "those who follow the path of evil, like the mafiosi do, are not in communion with God; they are excommunicated."

The June 15 meeting on corruption, sponsored by the dicastery and the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, looked at corruption as a global problem and at its connections to organized crime and the Mafia.

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