Italy’s most feared mafia organization may be targeting Pope Francis for his promise to rid the Vatican of corruption. According to state prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, renowned for his anti-mafia exploits, the Ndrangheta crime family from Calabria is very “nervous” about Francis getting in the way of their profits.
Gratteri indicated in an interview with the Italian news paper Il Fatto Quotidiano, “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.”
The prosecutor, who also hails from the southern region of Calabria, told the newspaper, “If the godfathers can find a way to stop him, they will seriously consider it.” He admitted that he did not know if they had the resources to persist in a hit but cautioned that Ndrangheta is “dangerous and it is worth reflecting on.”
A Vatican spokesman played down the threat, affirming that all in the Vatican, including Pope Francis, were very “relaxed”; he discouraged provoking “alarmism” on this matter.
In his homily on Monday, Pope Francis decried corruption, referring to 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.”