To many Roman Catholics I am “fallen,” because I no longer adhere to their beliefs. To me, I’m an ex-Catholic who never believed in Christ. That is, until I had an intimate meeting with His Father one night while laying on my prison bunk.( To learn of that experience you’ll need to read ‘Connected, from Godfather to God-the -Father,’ when released this September.) While I have some serious problems with some of the Catholic tenets, I do think we Protestant’s need to respect that our roots spread back to the early Universal or Catholic Church.
And so far, this committed Protestant really likes the new pope. At least I admire some of what I’ve been hearing. One thing I recently read really rang true, especially as people minimize or glorify (The Amish Mafia TV show, The Mafia Wars computer game, and the ‘mafia is dead’ articles, etc.) the Italian organized crime group that influenced too much of my life–the Mafia.
During a recent trip to Italy’s southern Calabria region, Pope Francis condemned the dishonesty and violence committed by members of the local mafia.
“When adoration of the Lord is substituted by adoration of money, the road to sin opens to personal interest … When one does not adore the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence,” Pope Francis said on June 21 at the outdoor mass in Sibari, Italy.
“Your land, which so beautiful, knows the signs of the consequences of this sin. The ‘Ndrangheta (Calabrian mafia) is this: adoration of evil and contempt of the common good. This evil must be fought, must be expelled. It must be told no,” he urged.
Earlier this year Pope Francis, when speaking of the mafia, summed up what I had to come to grips with in my previous life, “This life that you live now won’t give you pleasure. It won’t give you joy or happiness,” he said. “Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can’t bring it with you to your next life. Repent. There’s still time to not end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path.”
Are the mafia and its allure dead? No, but neither is the truth. I appreciate that Pope Francis has the courage to speak it.