The Vatican is getting into the anti-money laundering enforcement business it seems, to save humanity. And to legally excommunicate the Mafia and their families and associates.
The Vatican convened an anti-corruption conference with, inter alia, Scotland Yard, lawyers, Italy’s national Mafia prosecutor Franco Roberti, Rome’s Mafia prosecutor Michele Prestipino, Silvano Tomasi, the former Holy See observer to the UN and the United Nations itself, to address methods to eradicate corruption, curb laundering the proceeds of crime and pressuring the Mafia to become law abiding.
The Pope initiated the Vatican moving in this direction and called on everyone to denounce corruption and eradicate it. Referring to corruption as a “cancer“, the Pope said that organized crime and corruption are the worst scourge of our times. He noted that when a person becomes corrupt, they are decayed, contaminate others and are worse than the plague because their crimes impact all of us. He even went so far as to say that the corrupt have a bad odour.
Not mincing any words, the Pope said that the evils of the world from human trafficking, trafficking of drugs, exploitation of people, slavery, unemployment, neglect of the climate and the erosion of the fundamental rights of humans is the common language of the Mafia and other transnational criminal organizations. For the world to have a future, he said, for the young to have hope, the immense crisis of corruption must be faced by the Catholic Church which must not be afraid to purify itself of criminality. He called on all of us to speak about corruption, denounce its evils and join together as a movement to stop it.
Following the Conference, the Vatican said that it would engage public opinion for anti-corruption and develop laws to prevent corruption with the goal of inculcating a culture of justice. And it is also drawing up laws for the excommunication of the Mafia from the Church.
Excommunication has been used as a form of punishment within the Catholic Church since at least the 4th century. Excommunicated Mafia are prevented from receiving sacraments, such as the Holy Communion, cannot get married in a Catholic Church and cannot receive a Catholic burial. The Pope already excommunicated the Mafia verbally in 2014 and this is seen as a more formal global excommunication that would be binding on all Catholic churches around the world.