(Irish Times) An Italian bishop has stepped up the Catholic Church’s repudiation of organised crime by issuing a diocesan decree banning known mafiosi from acting either as godparents for baptism or sponsors for confirmation.

The decree by Michele Pennisi, Bishop of Monreale, near Palermo in Sicily, follows on the teaching of Pope Francis who in an unprecedented speech in Calabria in June 2014 “excommunicated” the Calabrian Mafia, the “’nDrangheta”, currently Italy’s most powerful organised crime unit, saying: “The ‘nDrangheta represents the adoration of evil and total contempt for the common good…Those who in their lives have chosen this path of evil are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated…”

Bishop Pennisi’s ruling this week appears to follow on from the polemics generated last year when Giuseppe Riina, son of the “boss of bosses” ‘Toto’ Riina, was allowed to act as a godfather at the baptism of his nephew, son of his sister Lucia.

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