Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
ROME (AP) — In apparent defiance of Pope Francis, a church procession detoured from its route through a southern Italian town to honor a convicted mobster under house arrest.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Sunday denounced the tribute in Oppido Mamertina — a Calabrian town and a ‘ndrangheta crime syndicate stronghold — as “deplorable and disgusting.”
On June 21, Francis, visiting Calabria, condemned the ‘ndrangheta for its “adoration of evil” and said its members were excommunicated.
The July 2 procession included clergy, the mayor, families and dozens of men carrying a Madonna statue on their shoulders — Alfano praised three Carabinieri policemen who abandoned the procession in disapproval.
Calabria’s anti-Mafia prosecutor, Nicola Gratteri, told The Associated Press that the detour to the mobster’s house appeared to be a “challenge to the diktat” of Francis.
Here’s a clip of Francis making his pronouncement regarding the ‘ndrangheta: