- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pope Francis during a Mass celebration Sunday told members of the Italian Mafia that they were officially excommunicated from the Catholic Church, according to news reports. 

“Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the Mafia, they are not with God; they are excommunicated,” Francis said in a Mass in Piana di Sibari, Calabria, reported CNN.

The strongly worded remarks came during the pontiff’s one-day visit to Calabria in southern Italy, where he met with the father of a 3-year-old boy who had been slain in the region’s drug war, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The region is home to the ‘Ndrangheta, an international crime syndicate that makes billions each year in the worldwide cocaine trade.

The pope called on Mafia bosses to repent, saying “hell … awaits you if you continue on this road,” according to CNN.

• Jennifer Pompi can be reached at jpompi@washingtontimes.com.

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