|Palermo at Christmas (by Josep Renalias)|
He not only made a pastoral visit to one of Rome's peripheral parishes, but also recently preached against Mafia "exploitation and slavery." Frances D'Emilio of the Associated Press reports that Francis "paid tribute to a courageous priest murdered by the Sicilian Mafia as a martyr [Rev. Giuseppe Puglisi, beatified this past Saturday in Palermo] and urged mobsters on Sunday to abandon their evil ways…"
These "evil ways" include drug and human trafficking. The latter entails the clandestine placement of illegal
immigrants on farms and in factories, plus the use of "young people from abroad for prostitution." Because
Francis envisions a "poor church for the poor," he is concentrating upon bettering the lives of society's most desperate people.
Rev. Puglisi had done the same. He had worked in Palermo, Sicily's toughest slums – neighborhoods in which young people were being recruited by the Cosa Nostra for illicit activities such as "drug pushing and
numbers running." Puglisi accepted neither Mafia favors nor intimidation, and he repeatedly urged
parishioners to do the same. Wikipedia reports that his last words as Mafia hit men approached him were these: I've been expecting you.
Copyright May 28, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved