(7 days ago)
Sicilian archbishops in the birthplace of the Cosa Nostra, have ended a two-century-old tradition by banning mafia members from acting as godparents for baptisms or being sponsors to Catholic confirmation.
Ever since the mafia's inception in Sicily in the 19 century, members of the notorious crime syndicate and later the La Stidda criminal clan have been immune from the condemnation of local clergy.
But on Thursday things changed, when Michele Pennisi, archbishop of Monreale, outside of Palermo, stopped just short of excommunicating mafia members. Instead, Pennisi issued a decree banning members of criminal gangs to act as godparents or be admitted to confirmation, the last of three initiation rites into the Catholic faith.