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Prosecutor: Mafia planning to assassinate pope

NEW YORK – The Mafia are considering assassinating Pope Francis for his anti-corruption agenda and his threats to reform or possibly even close the Vatican Bank, warned an Italian prosecutor.

The prosecutor, Nicola Gratteri, said members of the Calabrian Ndrangheta Mafia are concerned about the pope’s crusade against corruption, “wearing his iron crucifix, as he rails against worldly goods and plans a total clean up,” the London Daily Mail reported.

Gratteri is the deputy chief prosecutor of Reggio Calabria, the southern region in the “toe” of Italy, across the Straits of Messina from Sicily.

Commenting on the threat, Tom Horn, co-author with Chris Putnam of the 2012 book “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here,” noted that if something were to happen to Francis, the new Vatican secretary of state he appointed, Pietro Parolin, could take over the papacy.

Horn told WND that by placing a cardinal whose name can be translated as “Peter the Roman” in that position, he has “created a scenario whereby a man whose name literally seems taken from the final line of St. Malachy’s ‘Prophecy of the Popes’ could step into the position of pope, if something were to remove Pope Francis from office, such a accidental death, murder, or imprisonment.”

Is a 900-year-old prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes? See the fascinating DVD movie, “The Last Pope?”

“The Prophecy of the Popes” emerged in the 1500s at a time of great upheaval after being lost in the Vatican archives for some 400 years. According to Catholic tradition, the author, St. Malachy, the archbishop of Armagh in Ireland from A.D. 1132 to 1136, predicted a sequence of popes that would end with “Petrus Romanus,” or “Peter the Roman.”

In August, WND reported Pope Francis decided to replace the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, with Venezuelan Archbishop Pietro Parolin, a 58-year-old prelate who has worked in Nigeria and Mexico for the Vatican office of secretary of state under Bertone.

The Daily Mail noted that in one of his first sermons, Francis took aim at the Mafia, calling on it to repent for “exploiting and enslaving people.”

“Those who are in the financial arms of the Mafia are concerned by Pope Francis,” Gratteri explained to the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano. “Those who until now have been feeding off the wealth and power that comes directly from the church are agitated and nervous.”

Gratteri added: “Pope Francis is dismantling the centers of economic power in the Vatican. If the bosses could take him down they would not hesitate.”

The prosecutor agreed the Vatican security services are among the best in the world, acknowledging the Mafia may not necessarily be capable of assassinating Francis.

“I do not know if organized criminal gangs are in a position to do something,” Gratteri said, “but they are certainly considering it. It is a dangerous time for Pope Francis.”

The London paper reported the Ndrangheta, based in Reggio Calabria, has become the largest, richest and most feared of Italy’s three main criminal organizations.”

“Specializing in cocaine trafficking, the Ndrangheta controls 80 percent of the market in Europe and has invested its profits in northern Italy, Germany and the United States,” wrote Hannah Roberts, reporting for the Mail. “They have forged links with terrorist organizations worldwide and the drug cartels of South America.”

In September, WND reported Pope Francis announced he intends to intensify his fight against corruption at the Vatican by strengthening supervision of the Vatican Bank through the appointment of a special commission of inquiry to investigate and oversee the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal name of the Vatican Bank.