Pope excommunicates mafia, urges expulsion from clan heartland

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Pope Francis delivers his homily as he celebrates mass in Sibari, in the southern Italian region of Calabria at the end of his one-day visit in the city, on June 21, 2014Pope Francis launched a scathing attack on organised crime during a trip to the heartland of a feared syndicate on Sunday, declaring all mafia members “excommunicated” from the Catholic Church. The 77-year-old pontiff was speaking at the end of a trip to the territory controlled by the powerful ‘Ndrangheta mafia, where he comforted relatives of “Coco” Campolongo, a three-year-old who was shot dead in January in an apparent mob hit over money. Do not despair,” Francis said during a visit to Castrovillari prison, where several members of Coco’s family are serving time for drug-related crimes. The discovery of his body strapped to a car-seat in a burnt-out Fiat Punto sent shockwaves through Italy, as did the murder just two months later of another three-year-old in the nearby Puglia region.

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