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Pope Francis has made certain Italian mobsters nervous through his effort to reform the church, and by speaking out against corruption, it was reported.
An anti-mob prosecutor in Italy has warned that Pope Francis has ruffled feathers among the ‘Ndrangheta organized crime organization.
Nicola Gratteri, 55, a state prosecutor in the Calabria region of southern Italy, said the pope’s push to bring change to the Roman Catholic church has made ‘Ndrangheta wiseguys “very nervous,” the Religion News Service reported from Rome.
‘Ndrangheta has the most influence in Calabria, and the organization as a whole is viewed as Italy’s most dangerous, tightly knit network of gangsters, according to the report.
Francis has pointed a finger at ‘Ndrangheta directly, speaking out in May against Italy’s four organized crime families, of which ‘Ndrangheta is one.
Gratteri did not say there was a potential threat, only that the pope’s actions have not gone over well with ‘Ndrangheta.
Italian anti-mob prosecutor Nicola Gratteri said there is not a potential threat facing the Pope, but members of the Italian organized crime family ‘Ndrangheta are worried by his reforms.
“I cannot say if the organization is in a position to do something like this, but they are dangerous and it is worth reflecting on,” Gratteri said by way of warning, according to Religion News Service. “If the godfathers can find a way to stop him, they will seriously consider it.”
Gratteri is not only an expert on La Cosa Nostra in Italy, but he has also been made to look over his own shoulder due to threats from gangsters. The report noted that he has been under police protection against the mob as far back as the 1980s.
“Those who have up until now profited from the influence and wealth drawn from the church are getting very nervous,” Gratteri added. “For many years, the mafia has laundered money and made investments with the complicity of the church. But now the pope is dismantling the poles of economic power in the Vatican, and that is dangerous.”
Gratteri is now heading a special committee that is tasked with reducing the influence of Italian mobsters, a role for which he was selected by Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
The Religion News Service report also mentioned that Francis addressed corruption as recently as Monday. In doing so he quoted the words of Jesus from the Gospel of St. Luke:
“It would be better for (the corrupt man) if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea,” he said.