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At a vigil for lives that were lost at the Mafia’s hands, Pope Francis denounced members of the lifestyle and told them that they would go to hell if they did not repent.
The service is held every year; however, this is the first one to be attended by the Pope, who speaks out frequently on the subject.
The Pope took the stand and offered condolences to family members who lost a loved one to the Mafia, and then said that he could not leave without addressing the people who were not present. He told them that, “This life that you live now won't give you pleasure. It won't give you joy or happiness. There's still time to not end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path,” according to BBC.
Pope Francis’ stand against the Mafia is important because Mafia bosses will try to make a connection to Catholic figures so that it looks like the church is in favor with the Mafia.
The Mafia asserts its power by assassinations, threatening letters, and any other means that will get its message across. According to Reuters, threats against local government figures have risen to 66 percent since 2010, 41 local administrators have been assassinated over the past century, and 243 city governments had to be disintegrated because of Mafia infiltration.