In a bold move, Pope Francis announced all mobsters are excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
The pontiff made the announcement in front of a large mass in Italy. In his mass, Francis specifically called out one of Italy's largest and notorious mobs known as the "Ndrangheta," saying its members were in "adoration of evil and contempt for the common good." (Via The Vatican)
More than 100,000 people attended Francis' mass. It was part of a one-day visit to the southern part of the Italy. (Via Euronews)
According to CNN, the pope's comments are especially relevant in that part of the country where many mob members "attempt to portray themselves as upstanding religious men in good rapport with the Catholic Church."
Earlier Saturday, the pope visited the family of a 3-year-old boy fatally shot during a suspected mob-related attack. (Via CBS)
The Washington Post reports Francis is the first pope to use the word "excommunicate" when talking about members of organized crime, which brought applause from the large crowd.
And it was the first major papal condemnation of organized crime in more than 20 years. France 24 notes Pope John Paul II warned Sicilian mob members in 1993 if they didn't stop their ways, they would "one day face the justice of God."
Mob members responded to the late pope's statement by bombing several churches in Rome months later. (Via ABC)
The Wall Street Journal reports Pope Francis' latest comments may be especially welcomed by the Italian clergy who have risked their lives resisting the mob influence in some local parishes.